The folks at Kinder Morgan have seemed for years to be working from the assumption that the Palmetto Pipeline was an inevitability. The nation needs additional energy infrastructure and there is ample precedent for the use of eminent domain to run pipes on privately held land, right?
But the opposition to the Palmetto Pipeline has been pretty intense down here in Coastal Georgia and in the state as a whole. Coming close on the heels of the degradation of the Ogeechee River, the pipeline has been opposed by a broad range of Georgians — from staunch property rights and limited government advocates to anti-corportatists and environmentalists.
The prospects for the Palmetto Pipeline were dealt a huge setback today. From the Morris News Service as quoted in the Savannah Morning News:
The Texas-based energy company planning to build a 210-mile pipeline through East Georgia suffered a setback in court Tuesday when a judge rejected its appeal of a state decision to deny the pipeline developer the right of eminent domain.
Attorneys for Kinder Morgan had asked a Fulton County Superior Court judge to overturn state Transportation Commissioner Russell McMurry’s denial last May of the company’s application for the power to seize property from owners unwilling to sell. The so-called eminent-domain authority allows utilities to avoid costly detours by requiring a judge to set a fair price for rights of way across the seized property.
Meanwhile HB 1036 heads to the Georgia Senate. The bill would make it harder to use “eminent domain for construction of petroleum pipelines.”
I haven’t seen any word yet on whether Kinder Morgan will appeal today’s ruling, but I assume they will.