Ga. Department of Transportation Commissioner Russell McMurry today denied Kinder Morgan’s application for a public needs certificate. Without it, the energy company cannot complete the steps necessary to condemn property along its proposed 210-mile pipeline route in Georgia.
“After careful consideration of information in the application submitted by Kinder Morgan on behalf of Palmetto; numerous public comments submitted at seven public meetings held by Palmetto; two public hearings hosted by the Georgia DOT; and approximately 3,000 public comments submitted online and by mail to myself and the Utilities staff, the Department has determined that it will not issue a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity,” McMurry said in a written statement.
The $1 billion project would route gasoline, ethanol and diesel from the Gulf Coast and from South Carolina to North Augusta, Savannah and Jacksonville, taking a buried steel pipeline through about 600 private tracts of land in a dozen Georgia counties along the Savannah River and down the coast. The company must get a needs certificate before it can apply to the state Environmental Protection Division for an environmental assessment of the route, the second piece needed before it can exercise the power of eminent domain.
The question before McMurry was whether the company demonstrated public need in its application. In a letter to Kinder Morgan, McMurry explained “there is substantial evidence showing that the pipeline would not constitute a public convenience and necessity,” he wrote.
Georgia law allows the company to appeal McMurry’s decision to superior court within 30 days. That’s what Kinder Morgan Vice President Allen Fore has previously stated the company will do.
The appeal will likely be heard in Fulton County. Texas-based Kinder Morgan conducts its Georgia business, including 3,000 miles of existing pipeline, from a base in Alpharetta.