By B.C Manion
Motorists driving by pipeline being installed at locations near US 41 and Willow Bend Parkway may wonder what’s up with the pipes.
Many living in the area likely already know the pipeline is part of a massive project to install 483 miles of pipeline to carry natural gas through parts of Alabama and Florida.
The pipeline is owned by Florida Gas Transmission, which is operated by Citrus Corp. and is a joint venture of Southern Union and El Paso Corp.
The project will increase the company’s certificated capacity of natural gas by 820 million cubic feet per day. The company has estimated the demand for natural gas is expected to increase by more than 1 billion cubic feet per day in 2015.
The pipeline being installed in the $2.45 billion project will carry natural gas to electric generation companies, industrial users, municipal generators and local distribution companies, according to documents filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Residents living on County Line Road East, south of Willow Bend Parkway and east of U.S. 41, are all too familiar with the project.
They opposed it but were unable to block it, said Susan Naffziger, who lives on County Line Road East. Residents didn’t want the pipeline so close to their homes, she said. They also objected to the removal of a canopy of trees.
“It took away the country look,” she said. The trees also provided a good visual buffer between their homes and passing traffic, she said.
While they couldn’t stop the pipeline, neighbors did win a concession. The company will build a wall to replace the visual buffer that was lost when the trees were removed, Naffziger said.
Federal regulators approved the pipeline on Nov. 19, 2009, subject to 43 conditions that are intended to mitigate potential adverse effects.
In approving the project, regulators noted that the project’s use of horizontal directional drilling methods will avoid disturbing all of the major and most sensitive water bodies along the pipeline’s route.
An estimated 99 percent of the new pipeline is being laid in existing right-of-way, and most of it is going near a pipeline that Florida Gas Transmission put into service in 1993, according to federal documents.
The company plans to transport gas to Florida Power & Light, Florida Power Corporation/Progress Energy Florida, Inc. Seminole Electric Cooperative, Tampa Electric Company, the Orlando Utilities Commission and the City of Tallahassee.