Citizens brave rain for pipeline meeting

Published: Sep. 29, 2014 at 3:08 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 29, 2014 at 9:37 PM EDT
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ALBANY, GA (WALB) - It was standing room only as critics of a proposed natural gas pipeline heard from the folks behind the project at a hearing in Albany Monday.

Albany and Dougherty County leaders said they wanted to educate people about the natural gas pipeline proposal, that would run through Dougherty County.

Representatives of Sabal Trail, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Department of Natural Resources and the Governor's Office attended the meeting.

Pastor Reagan Marsh with Beacon Baptist Church said the proposed site for a compressor station is directly across from his church, which concerns him.

"I guess I don't understand why when you can go two or three miles down the road out of the populated area, why you would not route it out there, why there is a need felt to route it through a populated area?" asked Marsh.

The compressor station is a necessary part of the pipeline project, used to re-pressurize gas as it travels hundreds of miles.

Residents at the meeting were also concerned about the noise the station would bring. Others spoke of cases where it caused health issues in the past.

But officials with Sabal Trail, who are planning the pipeline, said the noise would be minimal and would not cause any health issues.

"The compressor stations that I believe they are referring to and had seen in a video were more of the production and drilling [kind] where they are pulling the natural gas products out of the ground and cleaning it," said stakeholder Andrea Grover. "This is simply natural gas getting a boost down the pipeline."

Paul Deloach, who serves on the Flint River Keeper Board says the pipeline is a threat to one of the main economic drivers in South Georgia agriculture.

"The Floridan Aquifer is the source of water for 90 percent of [Agriculture] growth in Southwest Georgia. So if that water becomes polluted with gas products, and they put it on corn and tomatoes, that product can't be used anymore."

The proposed pipeline route also cuts across the Flint River. Officials with the project say it would be built 50 feet below the bed of the river.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission must still approve Sabal Trail's application before they move forward with the project, which could take a year or more.

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