ALBANY, GA (WALB) - South Georgians, worried about a proposed natural gas pipeline, learned more about the project in a public meeting Monday.
A Spectra Energy spokesperson addressed concerns about the line that has the capacity to transport a billion of gallons of natural gas every day under Dougherty county neighborhoods.
The pipeline would run from central Alabama to northeast Florida and could transport enough fuel to power 4-Million homes. But the 21 miles that could run through the county have some residents worried.
Residents and county leaders are asking for a $3 Billion natural gas superhighway to be moved away from homes.
"One of the routes they preliminarily chose was through some major residential area and major business areas, almost through the middle of Albany. And so we...I think we got across to them today that that's really going to be a problem for our citizens," said Ewell Lyle, Dougherty County Commissioner.
It's a massive project that was redirected around the city and could be open by May 2017.
"It's supposed to be a 36-inch pipe going 450 miles through three states and transmit about one-Billion cubic feet of natural gas per day," said Lyle.
But nothing has been set in stone yet.
"We look at all possibilities. There's never a guarantee that we may tweak the route, but there's always a possibility if the right conditions exist we will look into it," said Brian Fahrenthold, Spectra Energy State Government Affairs Regional Director.
Many residents worry the project could harm the environment, but consultants said the pipeline will be one of the safest in the nation.
"When you build a new line, you have the existing regulations in place, it always behooves anybody, any developer to try to make something safer or go beyond the call of duty," said Fahrenthold.
And the project could bring construction jobs to the area.
"Why not go ahead and put a tap in, or whatever you call it so we could utilize that gas instead of just being a transit through our area," Lyle said.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will have the ultimate say on the route, but commissioners want affected residents to speak up.
"They'll be contacted by Sabal Transmission employees about surveying and talking to them. So they don't need to just resist the project, they need to offer valid alternative," said Lyle.
And while everyone continues to learn more about the project, Fahrenthold said his door will always open to concerned stakeholders.
The route diverted around Albany is the most preferable plan to connect with the Southern Natural Gas Pipeline. The project is a long way from being completed and likely won't even begin construction for another two years.
A public hearing on the project will be held in the first week of October. Other public meetings will be scheduled in December and at the beginning of the year.