Pipeline One Step Closer After Public Meeting
by Royce Armstrong The Sun Herald, Biloxi, Miss.
May 22, 2007
A proposed 270-mile gas pipeline stretching from Louisiana across Mississippi and into Alabama is one step closer after a public hearing Monday in George County, Miss.
Dozens of landowners, pipeline company employees, regulatory officials and Pipeline Workers of America members attended the meeting, with 56 of those people being members of the pipe layers union.
Two issues primarily were dealt with during a meeting aimed at environmental issues. One was the route and the other whether union workers would be used.
"Our concerns are basically those of the landowners," Clyde Kilpatrick, a member of the Pipeline Workers said. "We have responsible contractors that will do this work right. The contractors that they (Southeast Supply Header, LLC) plan to use don't do it right."
Kilpatrick was carrying a one-inch-thick book describing problems with Willbros-RPI, one of the contractors that have apparently submitted the winning bid on the project.
"We are showing our presence to make sure that this project is done in the proper manner," Kilpatrick said.
"SESH is a joint project between CenterPoint Energy, Inc. and Spectra Energy," said Brian Fahrenthold, the Regional Director of State Government Affairs with Spectra Energy. "Spectra uses mostly union workers. Mississippi is an open shop state. Willbros-RPI and M.G. Dyess (the second contractor) will use both union and non-union workers. We have full confidence in these two contractors."
The other issue came from landowners concerned about the proposed pipeline routes. Fewer than 10 landowners were present and several of those met after the meeting with officials to work out details of alternative routes.
"We are pleased with the community embracement," Fahrenthold said. "We have contacted more than 1,600 landowners along this 270-mile stretch. Most do not have concerns and we are doing everything we can to address the concerns of the few that do."
The meeting was the 11th of 13 scheduled to take public comment on a variety of issues. It was supposed to deal with protecting wetlands and endangered species.
The $842 million project, which began in late 2005, is expected to receive final governmental approval by mid-August. Construction will begin in November and the pipeline will be in service by Summer 2008 if governmental approval is received as expected, Fahrenthold said. During peak construction, between 2,000 and 3,000 workers will be used.
Copyright (c) 2007, The Sun Herald, Biloxi, Miss. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.
Southeast Supply Header Expansion Project
Southeast Supply Header LLC (Spectra Energy Corp.; CenterPoint Energy)
Delhi, La. to Colden, Ala. United States