2015-06-24 / News

Palmetto Pipeline decision appealed

By Roy F. Chalker Jr.

Palmetto Pipeline owners have not given up.

They have appealed the Georgia Department of Transportation’s June ruling denying the firm a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity. The certificate would have allowed the pipeline company to exercise the right of eminent domain in its efforts to acquire easements for the pipeline.

The petition for judicial review, which was filed in Fulton County Superior Court last week, asks that the decision by DOT Commissioner Russell R. McMurry be reversed on the grounds that it was “in violation of the GDOT’s statutory authority, in excess of the statutory authority of the agency, arbitrary and capricious, an abuse of discretion, clearly erroneous in view of the evidence in record.”

The company asserts that the new pipeline is needed to “increase competition and the reliability of fuel supplies in major markets like Savannah that currently lack access to petroleum pipelines.”

The company said that, “in the Savannah market alone, approximately

15,000 barrels (of petroleum products) per day are delivered by tanker trucks from terminals in Macon and North Augusta, S.C.”

That volume, they said, requires 74 truck trips per day.

The proposed pipeline would eliminate the need for much of that trucking by delivering up to 7 million gallons of petroleum products per day over a 210-mile route through South Carolina and Georgia, roughly paralleling the Savannah River. In order to complete the project, the company is seeking the right of eminent domain under a Georgia law passed in the 1990s.

Under that law, the DOT has the right to convey that power. Commissioner McMurry issued his decision denying the authority on May 18, following a series of public hearings at which property owners and environmental groups expressed their opposition.

In issuing his decision, Mc- Murry said, “the evidence suggests a downward trend in fuel consumption and the idea that the pipeline is needed to meet current and future increased demands is simply not supported.”

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