Citing action by the Georgia General Assembly which passed legislation that put a moratorium on private petroleum companies’ ability to seek eminent domain, Kinder Morgan has suspended work on its Palmetto Pipeline project. House Bill 1036 stops the builder from seeking environmental permits or other licenses until July 2017.
At the heart of the issue is the use of eminent domain by Kinder Morgan to acquire property for the pipeline. Kinder Morgan was denied the permit to use eminent domain authority by Transportation Commissioner Russell McMurry who said the company's project failed to necessitate awarding a certificate of public convenience. Kinder Morgan appealed the decision. In response, State Representative Bill Hitchens sponsored House Bill 1036 saying, “A study of environmental issues and eminent domain issues is something that needs to be done at this time.”
The 360-mile long pipeline plan has upset environmental groups and property owners who are seeking to overhaul procedures for allowing petroleum pipeline construction.