Public Service Commission Holds First Mobile Meeting

Public Service Commission Holds First Mobile Meeting

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Along the waterfront is where plains stores oil it first receives by boat.  They are asking for permission to replace a 40 plus year old pipeline that runs through downtown and the near the Africatown community.

“This should be viewed as a completely separate project through the watershed it's is a maintenance project on an existing pipeline,” says Plains All-American Director of Operations Rick McMichael.  To many showing up at today's meeting the two projects are tied together--same oil--same company same potential for problems. 

“One of those tankers rupturing in a hurricane will destroy or an industrial accident will destroy all of that and the economic livelihoods of thousands of residents,” says nursery owner Tom Dodd.  The hearing did get heated when the PSC refused to let a lawyer for a company in conflict with plains speak--some angrily marched out of the meeting.  The PSC has never denied an applicant because the only thing the applicant needs to show is that the project furthers industrial development.  For all environmental or safety concerns officials say look elsewhere.

“That would be ADEM, the Army Corps of Engineers, the local governments who issue land disturbance permits,” says PSC Law Judge John Garner.  Plains officials say the pipeline they’re trying to replace has never leaked in its history.  It is 36 inches in diameter.  Plains also owns another pipeline—one 14 inches in diameter.  Company officials say that leaked less than a barrel in 2005.  It’s not clear if they owned it at the time of the accident.  They say it was the original line from 1953 that leaked and it was cleaned up.  They say that’s why they want to replace the 36 inch line—to prevent accidents from happening. 

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