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Pipeline would be trouble for coast
Roy Hubbard
Roy Hubbard, a Bryan County resident, is a former Green Beret who spends much of his time advocating for the environment and smaller, better government. - photo by File photo

There will be a public hearing Tuesday in Richmond Hill held by the Georgia Department of Transportation in reference to the proposed pipeline Kinder Morgan wants to install along the entire coast of Georgia. It is important that Coastal Georgia residents attend.
Kinder Morgan has made any number of statements that have been proven to be questionable. The company in no way has qualified the public need of their project, which could damage hundreds of acres of Georgia wetlands, marshes, river basins and endanger our rivers.
The company intends to use a system called “bore and jack” to dig pipeline tunnels under our rivers. Officials brag that they don’t have to come close to a river bank. I seriously doubt that they have the capacity to burrow under miles of swamp and wetlands.
Kinder Morgan refuses to answer questions about its choice not to follow 100 percent of the available established rights-of-way in the form of power lines, railroads and existing pipelines to carry its pipeline to its destination at a terminal in Jacksonville, Florida. Why does the company want to risk destroying immeasurable amounts of ecologically sensitive areas and take private land from landowners when rights-of-way already exist that would not require that? Officials refuse to answer that question.
Advancing the economic interest of a corporation is not legally acceptable as an excuse to invoke eminent domain and take private property, property on which the owner still has to pay taxes and, in many instances, may no longer have access to or be able to use because of the presence of a pipeline carrying petroleum products. Owners also can be legally responsible for any damage done to the pipeline on their property. Kinder Morgan has stated that it will use that tool, eminent domain, to access private property when owners refuse to allow them to use their land.
The company says it is providing optional resources for fuel for the Georgia coast in the event of an emergency and that it also is a national defense issue. Not true. Special consideration was made during World War II for pipeline companies to take land and do whatever they wanted to do. Not now. We already have several options for fuel sources in case of a disaster of any type that shuts off any one source.
As I understand it, Kinder Morgan has done its political homework at both the state and county level. Its pitch sounds great until you start reading between the lines and doing a little research.
The blood money being offered to different county governments to quell any political opposition is, when taken over the objections of the residents of that county, a perfect example of selling your soul to the devil. The amounts mentioned represent peanuts when compared to the revenues expected from a billion-dollar investment.
There is nothing positive for the people of Georgia in the pipeline construction by this Texas company. Its promise of cheaper gas will not hold true once it runs the competition out of business. The destination of the pipeline at the Jacksonville terminals allows Kinder Morgan to sell product overseas while Georgians absorb the taking of private land and destruction of vital and sensitive ecological areas. We also assume the never-ending exposure to further damage from leaks, explosions, etc.
The price of gas in Augusta, which already has a pipeline, is about 3 or 4 cents cheaper per gallon than in Richmond Hill, and that market is serviced by more companies than Kinder Morgan. I’ll pay the extra 3 cents per gallon.
Initially, I was impressed with the company’s capability to monitor its pipelines and its stated ability to react to a situation. Unfortunately, when one looks a little deeper, Kinder Morgan has had safety problems and violations in its petroleum- and coal-transport operations, according to various news reports and environmental-watchdog websites. Fines imposed are considered the cost of doing business.
Kinder Morgan refuses to reveal who is going to own the product flowing through the proposed pipeline, claiming a legal right to do so.
It offers diagrams of the proposed path of the pipeline and says not to use them for reference because they are only projections that probably will change. On what is the public supposed to base research and decisions? It’s sort of like, “Don’t worry, we’ll tell you what you need to know.” In any case, the pipeline has a heavy presence in Bryan County. We are looking at a tank farm in the new industrial park. Is that the kind of industry Bryan County wants? This is not Texas, nor is it Louisiana. This is Georgia, and particularly the Georgia coast, which remains an exceptional and unique ecosystem bolstered by the five rivers that feed into it.
Kinder Morgan paints a neat picture of a limited intrusion along the pipeline path when it is obvious that huge areas will be damaged. The necessity of getting equipment and personnel in and out of a wetlands to lay the pipe can cause immeasurable damage, far more than the 50-foot right-of-way the company claims will contain the construction.
The company has made misleading comments about jobs. Officials use the number 1,200 and then reduce it to 28 permanent jobs when questioned. Pipeline construction is highly specialized, and you won’t be working on any petroleum pipeline without proper training and certification.
Kinder Morgan’s storyline is an insult to the intelligence of the people of Georgia.
The deceptive practices Kinder Morgan is using to present its case, the “marketing” answers to questions and concerns, the exposure to a potential ecological disaster and the overwhelming wealth of unknowns should be enough to cause the director of the Georgia DOT to say “no.”

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