Jobs created by a proposed pipeline through the area and the intention of the fuel it carries were questioned at a public meeting at the Country Inn & Suites in Hinesville Thursday.
Nearly two dozen area residents and leaders attended the meeting, the second of several on a proposed 360-mile pipeline from Belton, South Carolina, to Jacksonville.
Approximately 18 miles of the pipeline, which will transport gas, diesel fuel and ethanol, runs through Liberty County.
Officials from Kinder Morgan, the company building the $1 billion Palmetto Products Pipe Line, gave a 20-minute presentation then responded to questions.
Project manager Brian Williams, who is also Kinder Morgan’s director of engineering, said the project would provide about 1,200 temporary jobs at peak construction and 28-30 permanent jobs after it’s completed.
Hinesville resident Joe Stewart asked about the jobs, including the location and types. He also asked if the fuel would be shipped outside the United States from Jacksonville.
Williams said Kinder Morgan has no plans to export.
“Most of the (fulltime) jobs will be in Georgia,” he said, explaining many of them will be in the Atlanta area. “That terminal we’re talking about building will have about four people. That terminal would be just a little bit south of the Richmond Hill area. Somewhere just north of there where we’d put a pump station, there would also be a maintenance facility.”
The meeting was moderated by corporate lawyer Andrew Mutter, who said the entire meeting would be transcribed for the Georgia Department of Transportation, which helps approve the project, to assure they were following DOT guidelines.
“This is really the start of a lengthy process,” said Kinder Morgan VP for Public Affairs Allen Fore. “We are proposing a project that we believe is good for the area and good for the energy security and infrastructure in the region. Regulators at the state and federal level will review our project and hopefully approve our project.”
Allen said Kinder Morgan is the largest pipeline company in North America. It already has 3,000 miles of pipeline in Georgia, he said. He explained the Palmetto line will come off an existing pipeline, the Plantation Pipeline that runs from Louisiana to Washington, D.C. He referred to that pipeline as a “major energy driver” for the Southeast.
Fore said landowners potentially affected by the pipeline have been contacted about survey permission and purchase of easements that he said would be 50-feet wide.
Williams said, “The design of the pipeline is to accommodate up to 167,000 barrels a day. The pipe we would be installing in Georgia is 16-inches in diameter. It’s a single pipe, a steel pipe, and it’s buried underground… We also expect we’ll significantly increase the taxes we’ll be paying the state. Our estimate, we’ll be paying to Liberty (County) is about $450,000-$500,000. Those will be property taxes, so it’ll be on-going and not a one-time thing.”
Prior to the meeting, Williams said there would be additional facilities built along the pipeline, including storage tanks and pump stations every 90 miles and the delivery terminal near Richmond Hill. He said about 80 percent of the pipeline would follow existing corridors like power lines.