ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Folks gathered at the Albany Civic Center to tell the federal government what they think about the proposed Sabal Trail natural gas Pipeline.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission wants to hear from them about a new 2,000 page study on the natural gas pipeline. If it's approved, it would come through Southwest Georgia as it carries gas from Alabama to Florida.
This is one of many meetings that commissioner Roger Marietta has encouraged citizens to attend to oppose the construction of this pipeline. Many opponents say it will have a negative impact on the environment and will diminish property values.
Apostle Felix Revills from a nearby church was invited to speak to residents..encouraging them to voice their opposition to the pipeline.
"We definitely not going to lay down and allow major business to come in and put something in our community that could be negative on the environment and our children in the future," said Revills.
The company in charge of the pipeline said the study clearly shows that the pipeline will not have a significant impact on the environment.
The company also said that property values would not diminish, and land and water near the pipeline will not be adversely impacted.
Here is the full statement:
Sabal Trail has been evaluating proposed routes, design and construction methods and impacts to community members and the environment since June 2013. Over this nearly 2 ½ years of discussions, surveys, studies and planning, Sabal Trail feels it has devised a balanced plan for the route, construction techniques, and measures to avoid, minimize or mitigate impacts. We feel that in its DEIS FERC has performed a very comprehensive evaluation of the environmental impacts and has proposed reasonable conditions to mitigate those impacts for the Sabal Trail project.
The DEIS notes that while construction will temporarily affect the environment, the project would not result in a significant impact to the environment.
With regard to karst geology, the DEIS states that Sabal Trail will not significantly impact karst terrain, springs or the Floridan Aquifer with its construction or operations. Sabal Trail has conducted a thorough assessment of these areas and consulted with area experts to ensure this is the case.
Additionally, FERC found no evidence that sinkhole development poses a safety risk for the pipeline. Sabal Trail's construction techniques and operation plans in karst areas were acceptable to FERC.
As to water impacts, including surface, wetland and well impacts, these will be effectively minimized or mitigated and would be temporary in nature. Since natural gas is lighter than air and water, it would dissipate quickly into the atmosphere and not contaminate water.
Sabal Trail will adequately avoid or minimize impacts to protected species habitat and will implement construction and restoration measures with FERC, in consultation with other federal and state agency, recommendations.
FERC has suggested further specific recommendations with regards to geology, potential for sinkholes, river crossings via horizontal directional drilling under the river beds, soils, aquifers and federal and state listed species.
In addition, the DEIS addresses stakeholders and states that Sabal Trail will not have a significant adverse effect on local communities or the socioeconomics of an area.
FERC did not find any evidence that property values would diminish as a result of a pipeline.
Where Sabal Trail is near or crosses environmental justice populations, FERC stated that the project would not result in high and adverse impacts, nor would not it disproportionately impact these identified areas.
With regard to the compressor station, FERC acknowledged Sabal Trail's decision to change the location of the Albany compressor station to W. Oakridge Road and noted that this location would provide adequate visual screening from public view and would result in noise levels that are in compliance with FERC standards.
FERC notes that construction of Sabal Trail would benefit both state and local economies via workforce, local purchases and construction related materials, and taxes.
We certainly encourage all stakeholders to review this comprehensive document and provide their comments to FERC by October 26th.