SEMMES, Ala. (WALA) - FOX10 News has confirmed construction on the underground crude oil pipeline set to run from Mobile County through Big Creek Lake Watershed to Pascagoula refinery has been temporarily shut down.
Semmes Mayor Judy Hale said right now, Plains Southcap is not doing "any further construction work within the Semmes City Limits or permitting jurisdiction (basically our police jurisdiction) until they can obtain all of the Land Disturbance Permits they need to purchase from the City of Semmes. Until then, they (Plains Southcap) will just do maintenance work on the silt fences, etc to help prevent erosion problems due to the construction."
Mayor Hale added, "The City is working with the pipeline company to identify all parcels of property that will need permitting. When those permits are issued, the company would be able to begin construction work again in the Semmes area. Until that time though, it's shut down."
Mayor Hale said even though there are environmental concerns from Mobile County officials and its citizens, that won't prevent Plains Southcap from obtaining the permits.
"If they satisfy our requirements for that permit then we can't hold them up," she said.
Plains says permits have been approved
"The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, ADEM, the Alabama Public Service Commission and the County of Mobile have granted the appropriate permits or approvals to construct the route as it is currently planned," aid Brad Leone with Plains All American Pipeline.
When asked about the location of the pipeline and the threat to mobile's drinking water, the company replied in part:
"The route for this pipeline was selected after carefully considering a number of factors, including impact to the environment, impact to area land owners, terrain, rights of way, and the directness of the route."
Hale said once the permits are obtained from the city, the company can get back to work.
In the meantime, Mayor Hale, Mobile County leaders and MAWSS are just some of the parties trying to negotiate with the oil company to get the pipeline routed away from Big Creek Lake watershed.
Safety Study Underway
MAWSS hired Kellogg Brown and Root to study the safety of the pipeline on the watershed which Plains Southcap will ultimately foot the bill for.
FOX10 News reached out to the consulting firm. The company would not comment on the study and said the results will be given to MAWSS when it's complete.
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