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April 3, 2014

Local residents speak out against Sabal Trail gas line

Live Oak —

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) held a meeting recently at Live Oak City Hall with a large crowd that gathered to voice their concerns regarding the Sabal Trail natural gas pipeline which is proposed to be constructed through Suwannee County. 

The purpose

The purpose of FERC is to evaluate whether interstate natural gas pipeline projects proposed by private companies should be approved.

According to FERC, “The Federal government does not propose, construct, operate, or own such projects.”

The purpose of the meeting was to inform local residents about FERC and their role in this project, as well as to give the public a time to voice their concerns. 

The plan

If the proposed map remains unchanged, the pipeline is about 470 miles long and will make its way through four Alabama counties, nine Georgia counties and 12 Florida counties, including Suwannee and surrounding Madison and Hamilton counties.

The pipeline will extend for approximately 40 miles in Suwannee County and approximately 500 landowners will be affected by this project. About 100 landowners in Hamilton County will be affected by this project as well.

The process

According to FERC, in order for a private company to receive a certificate to construct a natural gas pipeline, there are several steps that are taken to investigate the project before approval.

The proposed company can voluntarily enter into into a pre-filing environmental review with FERC. FERC then conducts scoping to determine environmental issues and attempt to resolve them. The company can then file an application with FERC and a notice of application is given. (FERC will then conduct scoping, if the pre-filing process is not used.) FERC will then issue an environmental impact statement (EIS). A response to environmental comments will then be issued and a final EIS. The final EIS will then be submitted to the commission for final approval. 

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