Kinder Morgan appeal rejected in huge setback for Palmetto Pipeline

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.

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Dave Bearse
Dave Bearse

Bi-partisan sponsorship—three Dems and three coastal Georgia Republicans.

Existing statute has appears to have stopped the exercise of eminent domain. I love the expertise some commenters bring here—that’s me fishing for someone to provide a thumbnail of how the legislation modifies existing statute.

Will Durant
Will Durant

This legislation as worded appears to just be a stopgap measure just making sure the road block stays in place protecting the home teams until the legislature can get their sh…stuff together next year installing more road blocks. If Kinder-Morgan somehow gets a favorable ruling from an appellate court or the like on the current code then they will have this one to tackle. By that time we will have another legislative session. I did a bit of research and while there have been a few mishaps no other means of transporting oil and gas can claim their 99.999% reliability… Read more »

Dave Bearse
Dave Bearse

Can’t beat pipelines for economy and safety. That’s why coal-slurry pipelines from Kentucky to Chesapeake Bay were being discussed in the 1980’s when the US was exporting substantial quantities of Appalachian coal from Newport News-Norfolk.