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December 10, 2013

Proposed pipeline causes concern locally

Residents invited to Sabal Trail open house meetings

Live Oak —

Sabal Trail Transmission, LLC held open house meetings both in Live Oak and Branford last week to provide information and address any concerns residents have regarding a natural gas pipeline the company intends to build and install by 2017. 

Florida Power & Light Company chose Sabal Trail to perform the roughly $3 billion project that will extend their gas pipeline 474 miles beginning in Alabama 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 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.

According to Andrea Grover, spokesperson for Sabal Trail Transmission, the current proposed route could change, but it will stay within a 600 feet corridor. Grover said the pipeline will run along existing rights-of-way for about 80 percent of the route. When construction begins, the pipeline’s projection path will be narrowed down to a 50 feet corridor. 

At the end of next year, Sabal Trail hopes to file an application for a certificate which will allow the company to begin construction on the gas line. According to Grover, the process of approval takes about a year. Should the process go smoothly, the company could begin construction as early as 2016. It’s the goal of the company to have the pipeline constructed and flowing by May 1, 2017. 

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 & Light Company to provide dedicated natural gas transportation services for their power generation needs starting in May 2017.

Sabal Trail 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. 

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