ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Some South Georgians say a Multi-Billion-Dollar natural gas pipeline that could be built through Dougherty County may cause irreparable harm to the environment and endanger hundreds of lives.
Monday, they asked Dougherty County leaders to consider re-routing the 465-mile pipeline that would run from central Alabama to northeast Florida.
The cars traveling a stretch of Gillionville Road may soon be driving over a pipeline with the capacity to transport a Billion cubic-feet of natural gas every day. It would fall along part of the Sabal Trail Transmission, a joint venture between Spectra Energy Corp. and NextEra Energy Inc., an estimated $3 Billion project.
"The proposed pipeline would come right in between our homes. Cross Gillionville right here at the curve, and the compressor station would be right there in the pasture," said Robbie Barkley, Land Owner & Hidden Lakes HOA President.
Barkley first received a letter about the Florida Power and Light Company project about a month ago.
Now, he and other residents are asking Dougherty County Commissioners to move it away from residential zones.
"It's a matter of where it does come. And they've got some other proposed routes, which would bring it a little further west, which would take it through some of the plantation properties and wouldn't disrupt neighborhoods," said Barkley.
A Spectra Energy Spokesperson said in a phone conversation that any pipeline project is heavily regulated to follow all Federal guidelines and must perform environmental and cultural surveys to minimize impacts.
But Barkley worries about ground water contamination and other potential dangers.
"Like I said, we just built 18 months ago. And you know how the housing market is right now. So no, we'd...we'd be forced to stick it out," he said.
The project could deliver enough energy to power four-Million homes annually.
But Barkley believes it could also disturb wildlife, like the bald eagle he photographed last week.
"We're learning more and more every day and like they said earlier, this imminent domain is...it could very well happen to us," Barkley said.
Commissioners are still learning about the project but said they won't put residents in harm's way.
"Listen, these are our friends and neighbors. We want to make sure that the safest and least intrusive route be chosen. That's very, very important for all the right reasons," said Chairman Jeff Sinyard, Dougherty County Commission.
Barkley estimated up to 800-residents could be affected by the project which he says could diminish property values.
Work on the pipeline could begin in May 2017. Commissioners will hold a public meeting with a company spokesperson next Monday. A public hearing has also been scheduled for the beginning of October.