Construction begins on Sabal Trail Natural Gas Pipeline in several AL counties

Construction begins on Sabal Trail Natural Gas Pipeline in several AL counties

LEE CO., AL (WSFA) - It's reminiscent of the protests of the Dakota Access Pipeline but this time, it's much closer to home.

Concerns are being raised about the construction of a natural gas line in east Alabama. Crews are laying pipes in Lee County right now.

Just this week, the Federal Government agreed to reroute the controversial Dakota oil line but authorities say the Sabal Trail Pipeline is considered much safer.

It's designed to take natural gas from east Alabama, through Georgia and on to central Florida.

The Alabama section winds through Tallapoosa, Chambers, Lee and Russell counties.

Protestors have been sounding off in south Georgia.

"It's taking people's land, it's destroying the environment," said one demonstrator.

Just miles from where pipes are being laid, Lee County residents are seemingly in the dark.

"I haven't heard anything about it," said Brooke Grady.

"The safety part of it, I don't understand why it's not being put out to the public," said Derius Davis.

Lee County Commissioner Robert Ham says if folks are concerned about safety issues, they should research the Sabal Trail Pipeline.

"These gas lines are deep, there's a lot of security and we feel good about it," said Ham.

Ham and his fellow commissioners signed off on the project about a year ago.

"I didn't want anything in our county that would be a target for terrorists or anything else that would jeopardize property and the lives of our citizens. It didn't take long until I was convinced," said Ham.

The 515-mile pipeline will transport natural gas from Alex City through Georgia to central Florida and will be used by Florida Power and Light and Duke Energy of Florida - for now.

"We do have the option of tapping into that line should we get some type of industry here that requires a lot of gas," said Ham.

Ham says the entire state will benefit from the $3.2 billion project through taxes paid on the flow of gas.

"It won't just benefit Lee County, it may be coming through Lee County, Tallapoosa County, and Russell County but it will benefit all counties; it's split 67 ways," said Ham.

We reached out to the Alabama Department of Environmental Management and Governor Bentley's Office, the Governor's Office release a statement:

The Sabal Trail is a natural gas pipeline stretching from Florida through parts of Georgia, and into Alabama.
The Governor is supportive of this pipeline if it will alleviate some of the natural gas supply limitations the state currently has.

According to Sabal Trail Transmission, the pipeline project will create over 5,000 construction jobs with 527 permanent jobs after construction is completed.

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