Suwannee Democrat

Local News

July 3, 2013

Gas transmission line proposed

Possible route shows it coming through Suwannee County

Live Oak — A proposed natural gas pipeline could be coming to Suwannee County, according to County Administrator Randy Harris. On June 3, Harris received a letter from Sabal Trail Transmission notifying him of their plans to possibly construct a pipeline from North Alabama to Central Florida. A proposed map shows the pipeline running through Suwannee County.

The natural gas pipeline study currently under review originates in Alabama, extends to Georgia and ends in Central Florida. The proposed interstate pipeline would run for approximately 465 miles and would parallel existing rights-of-way for about 70 percent of the route, according to Sabal Trail.

Brian Fahrenthold, director of state government affairs, said Sabal Trail’s efforts to develop a new natural gas transportation system in the region is in response to an industry-wide request by Florida Power and Light Company to provide dedicated natural gas transportation services for their power generation needs starting in May 2017.

Sabal Trails is a wholly owned affiliate of Spectra Energy Corp, a leading transporter of clean-burning natural gas. Through their multiple interstate pipeline companies, they have been providing natural gas to local utility and electric generating facilities for almost 70 years.

According to Fahrenthold, although FPL has not yet selected a company to develop, construct and operate this proposed natural gas expansion project, Sabal Trail has already began the first step in initiating several time sensitive activities to gather early input should Sabal Trail be chosen to build this pipeline system.

“The next step in our early collaborative process includes initiating communications with landowners within or near our proposed route corridor,” said Fahrenthold. “Right-of-Way personnel working on behalf of Sabal Trail initiated contracts on June 3 via introductory letters.”

Once constructed, the pipeline will be capable of transporting up to one billion cubic feet of natural gas per day, enough to meet the needs of over four million American homes annually.

Estimated costs for the project should Sabal Trails be selected to complete the project will be about $3 billion, however, this figure could change depending on the finalized project.

At the onset of the project, Sabal Trails will have two above-ground facilities; one will be constructed in Tallapoosa County, Ala., at the start of the pipeline and one at the end in Osceola County in Florida. An additional five stations will be added after the in-service date.

According to Sabal Trails, the company is committed to protecting the environment. Wherever possible, the new pipeline will follow existing rights-of-way to substantially limit environmental impacts and effects to landowners. These development efforts are closely monitored by federal and state environmental agencies.

Sabal Trail believes this project will create a significant amount of jobs during the construction and add capital investment and tax base in Alabama, Georgia and Florida.

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