The pipeline, which runs through Calhoun County and carries natural gas to users across the state and into Georgia, failed in 2009 when a crack in a pipeline bend released natural gas into the air. Although no fires or injuries resulted from the incident, the company believes that abandoning this section of the pipeline will help increase the line’s efficiency.
“Abandonment of this pipeline is in line with our objective of providing continued safe and reliable service on [Southern Natural Gas]’s system in the area,” Kinder Morgan spokesman Richard Wheatley said in an emailed statement. Kinder Morgan is the parent company of Southern Natural Gas.
The email also stated that by removing this section of the line, the company will help eliminate unnecessary sections which have little operational benefit, while maintaining service to the company’s existing customers.
The abandoned pipeline will mostly remain buried, but above-ground valves and other facilities will be removed. The line is then cleaned and filled with either air or water, according to the email.
The proposed project would require an additional 36.1 acres of land in order to be completed, according to the commission’s proposal. Local landowners would be notified of the project and approached in hopes of reaching deals to allow the company to use property to construct the line, also known as easements. After completion, only 10 acres would need to be used for permanent operation of the pipeline. The remaining acreage would be restored and returned to its previous use, according to both the regulatory commission’s project proposal and Wheatley’s statement.
The public can comment on the project via the commission’s website or by mailing comments to the commission. The comment period closes on June 16.
“The more technical, the more informative the comments, the better,” said Tamara Young-Allen, spokesperson for the commission. “We do get comments where people say ‘not in my backyard,’ but the more helpful the comments are, the better.”
Comments regarding the pipeline abandonment project can be submitted online at ferc.gov or mailed to Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First St. NE, Room 1A, Washington, DC 20426.