A federal agency has approved construction of a proposed natural gas pipeline that would run from Spartanburg County to Greenwood County.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) granted a certificate of public necessity Thursday for the Charleston to Moore pipeline. FERC stated the project meets all the federal requirements for construction and allowed the Dominion Carolina Gas Transmission to claim some private property with eminent domain proceedings.
Dominion said it is pleased by FERC’s approval of the project and expects construction to begin next month. The pipeline’s route is still being finalized as the company continues negotiations with landowners along the route.
Many of those landowners oppose its construction, saying that the prices Dominion offered for their property were below market value. In response to some of their own constituents, the Laurens County Council voted unanimously last week to oppose eminent domain proceedings for its residents. However, the council has limited power to stop the project and the resolution is more of a statement by council members than a legally binding document.
The environmental group Upstate Forever said it has filed a lawsuit to stop the project, saying they doubt its necessity..
“We do not think the need in any way shape or form justifies the environmental impact and the property rights impact that it will have in the Upstate,” said the group’s Sustainable Communities Project Manager Shelley Robbins said, prior to the FERC decision.
Robbins also said she worries that Dominion will use eminent domain to secure easements along the pipeline. Last July, Dominion used eminent domain proceedings to condemn ten tracts of land for a pipeline near Columbia.
Earlier this week, Dominion issued a letter to FERC asking to fast-track the approval process. Dominion claimed delays threaten to jeopardize the project without the quickened approval process. The company said it needs to expand its pipeline infrastructure to account for an expected increase in demand the next few decades.