Sabal Trail Project, South Georgia

STATEMENT OF ISSUE:  The proposed Sabal Trail underground natural gas pipeline project would originate near Alexander City, Alabama, traverse Georgia for approximately 158 miles south and west of a line from Columbus to Albany to Valdosta, and terminate near Kissimmee, Florida.  The project would consist of approximately 472 miles of 36-inch diameter natural gas pipeline and 24 miles of 24-inch diameter pipeline.  The proposed pipeline crosses the boundaries of three U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) districts (Mobile, Savannah, and Jacksonville) requiring separate regulatory permit authorizations from each district.  Jacksonville is acting as the lead district in communicating with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and all districts are working closely together to ensure consistency and timeliness.

The study corridor in Georgia covers nine counties including Stewart, Webster, Lee, Dougherty, Mitchell, Colquitt, Lowndes and Brooks.  The portion of the pipeline in Georgia would impact approximately 127.6 acres of wetlands and cross 130 rivers and streams including the Chattahoochee, Flint and Withlacoochee Rivers.  No Department of the Army (DA) permits have been issued and construction has not yet begun.
BACKGROUND:  Sabal Trail Transmission, LLC, (Sabal Trails) a joint venture of Spectra Energy Corp and NextEra Energy, Inc. has been awarded a 474-mile interstate natural gas pipeline project by Florida Power & Light Company to provide transportation services for their power generation needs beginning in May 2017.  In December 2014, Sabal Trails submitted an application to the Savannah District for a DA individual permit for the segment of the project located within Georgia.  In May 2015, a revised application was submitted to account for minor realignments and changes in the proposed impacts.

FERC is the lead Federal Agency on this action conducting the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review for the entire project.  In December 2015, FERC issued its Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) including conditions that require the applicant to complete reviews under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act and Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act prior to commencing construction.

CURRENT STATUS:  In Georgia, comments received in response to the Joint Public Notice issued by the Savannah District and Georgia Environmental Protection Division have been provided to the applicant via e-mail with an official letter forthcoming from Jacksonville District representing all three districts.  The Savannah District is currently drafting the decision document for impacts to DA jurisdiction in Georgia and has requested the applicant provide a final mitigation plan for review and approval.  The Savannah District continues to coordinate with the applicant and associated Corps districts to finalize review in a timely manner.

:  Terry Kobs, Coastal Branch, Regulatory Division, (229) 430-8567