It’s not a political campaign but we are seeing television commercials just the same. “Push back the Pipeline” says the voice on one advertisement that’s run a few Sundays on local television. But the idea of television commercials may signal how serious the opposition is in terms of trying to fight the Palmetto pipeline proposal by Kinder Morgan out of Houston.
“A lot of different groups are coming together for a common purpose which is exactly what grass roots should be,” says Emily Markestyn, the Ogeechee Riverkeeper.
Markestyn is used to being the lone voice of protest at a public hearing when it comes to environmental issues, often being pitted against local governments and landowners. In this case however, a few government entities and many landowners are joining her. That’s because there’s concern about the easement for the pipeline right which would allow the private company to use eminent domain if its application is approved by the Georgia Department of Transportation.
But Markestyn points to the growing number of opponents and the first public hearing on the topic which was held last month in Richmond Hill. An estimated 500 to 600 people attended. ” I’m hoping that Georgia DOT will take notice and listen to what people are saying how many have signed the petition opposing this proposed pipeline,” she told us.
About 76 people have signed a petition, making making comments the pipeline isn’t needed in their back yard.
Markestyn remains concerned about the proposed route which at some points, would cross under the Ogeechee and Savannah Rivers. She says critical wetlands could be endangered especially if there was a leak. “Right now the company is still cleaning up a leak in South Carolina so we know it’s possible that accidents happen,” she said.
Kinder Morgan has indicated the 360 mile pipeline will ensure domestic and local supplies of fuel and despite the leak in South Carolina says pipelines are still the “safest” mode of fuel transportation.
Markestyn disagrees saying she has seen no evidence the pipeline will mean lower gas prices for her or anyone else locally. She urges the opposition to attend the public hearing Thursday night in Waynesboro at Augusta Technical College (216 GA-24, Waynesboro) from 5 to 7:00 p.m.