Lowndes County Leaders Vote 4-1 for Sabal Trail

Noelani Mathews
January 27, 2015 • 5pm

LOWNDES COUNTY, Ga. -- A controversial natural gas pipeline in South Georgia has environmentalists speaking out, after Lowndes County Commissioners approved a plan for the Sabal Trail Pipeline.

A 4-1 vote Tuesday night has paved the way for the pipeline to run through part of Lowndes County, but some are upset about the Board's decision.

"They're suppose to represent the people of the County, not the salesman for a pipeline company from Houston, Texas", says John Quarterman, president of WWALS Watershed Coalition.

Three Energy companies want to build the Sabal Trail Pipeline through parts of Georgia, Florida, and Alabama.

This week's approval comes after Lowndes County passed a resolution against the project.

"They voted a year ago to oppose Sabal Trail", says Quarterman. "Why were they even considering an easement last night?"

Chairman Bill Slaughter, with the Lowndes County Board of Commissioners says, "We still feel the same way about the pipeline as we did two years ago. However, also being realistic, if the Federal Energy Regulation Commission grants this certificate and they get the documentation they need to move forward, the pipeline will continue to come through as they had it surveyed."

The local Watershed Coalition is worried because the trail will run near the Floridian Aquifer system -- and through a closed landfill.

"It is not going through the actual closed portion of the landfill", explains Chairman Slaughter. "It's going through the inert portion of the landfill."

That property isn't the only one in Lowndes making way for the project.

County leaders say so far, 59 other properties have given the pipeline permission to use their land and five properties remain.

"If you hold out, if you make them apply eminent domain, you'll get a far better offer", says Quarterman. "If more people do that, it will make it more likely that the pipeline will not happen at all."

Lowndes County will receive more than $50,000 as compensation for the land.