MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - Attorneys for Plains Southcap and the Mobile Area Water & Sewer System met before a probate court judge Thursday, September 12 about a condemnation lawsuit filed by Plains to seize MAWSS property.
Plains Southcap wants to continue to build a crude oil pipeline, under eminent domain, through an area of land that MAWSS owns and wants to protect.
MAWSS argues the State of Alabama does not allow "L-L-C" companies to condemn land.
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.
"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.
Thursday, September 12 Plains Southcap argued before Judge Don Davis the company has a legal right to seize the property under eminent domain.
"We think that Plains Southcap clearly has authority to condemn the land. The public service commission has determined that, the court has and the law supports us,” said Jarrod White, an attorney for Plains Southcap.
MAWSS believes Plains Southcap does not have the right to seize the land.
"Plains as an entity does not have standing to condemn MAWSS property and come through our watershed without our permission, and we do not give that permission,” said Jim Atchison, an attorney for MAWSS.
Some residents have major concerns.
"We don't want to have a spill in our river like Kalamazoo, Michigan,” said Thayer Dodd.
Dodd attended the probate court hearing, with a few others who oppose the project.
"It's not just important to me. I got a big voice and I don't mind using it but there a lot of us,” said Dodd.
Plains Southcap said the pipeline is state of the art and safe.
If the work is allowed to continue, the pipeline will run from the Ten mile terminal in mobile county
The judge said he would make a decision on the matter after reviewing both sides of the issue.
FOX10 News will continue to follow this developing story.
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