Mobile Area Water and Sewage System, or MAWSS, passed a resolution Monday, August 19 that takes a firm stand against Plains Southcap putting a crude oil pipeline through an area of land that MAWSS owns and wants to protect.
MAWSS said it's been against pipeline construction since day one.
However, this particular resolution comes after a global company with Mobile offices, called KBR, conducted a study about the pipeline and published a report indicating what could happen if it were to be constructed through the watershed.
MAWSS has been opposed to Plains Southcap's pipeline construction for more than a year now.
If constructed, the crude oil pipeline would run through a large portion of the Big Creek Lake watershed, including Hamilton Creek, which has direct runoff into Big Creek Lake, a body of water that provides the drinking water of some 250,000 people.
MAWSS said it hired KBR, a company that deals with oil regularly, to conduct a study on the company and its oil-pipeline history to get a better idea of the dangers that the pipeline could pose.
The report states that "a rupture or leak inside the watershed would be a catastrophic event to MAWSS' raw water reservoir," and, "the only option to eliminate all risks to the Big Creek Lake Watershed would be to completely relocate the pipeline out of the Watershed."
MAWSS officials said that recommendation appeared 20 times throughout the document.
"This is our drinking water. We can't risk having oil in our drinking water. That's just an unacceptable risk,” said MAWSS Public Affairs Manager Barbara Shaw.
Plains Southcap says that they're already spent nearly 80 million dollars on constructing the crude oil pipeline in west Mobile. They say that they're not going to turn back, and the KBR report gives them no reason not to.
The KBR report states that in the last eight years there have been a very small amount of incidents with hazardous liquid pipelines, 0.0007 significant incidents per mile of pipeline a year to be exact.
The report also explains that Plains has acquired necessary environmental permits from the Alabama Department of Environmental Management and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Plains Southcap has said that it will reimburse MAWSS for the cost of having KBR conduct the study.
Plains officials said the company has not completely reviewed the 50-page report yet, but the company will release a statement later this week on the matter.
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