MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - Plains All American Pipeline said the crude oil pipeline that's supposed to run through Mobile County's watershed is 70 percent complete. Is also said there are plans to condemn land from MAWSS this week.
Plains All American's attorney, Jarrod White, said Plains has been working with MAWSS for two years and signed a letter of intent with MAWSS in November 2012.
"That letter of intent provided for 120 days from the time it was signed to closing on the property. For that reason, MAWSS was not sued when the other property owners in Alabama were sued in the end of December," White said.
MAWSS is waiting on the completion of a safety study paid for by Plains which will examine the impact of the pipeline running through a section of the watershed.
White said the study began in April and was expected to be completed in 30 days. Plains hopes to have that report within the next week.
"The filing of a condemnation is a way to move this forward but we still want to work with MAWSS. If over the next 30 days MAWSS can come to the table we hope that gives us time to work this out before we go to court that's our preference," White said.
Proposed realignment of pipeline
Locals protested the pipeline outside of MAWSS Park Forest Plaza, holding up signs requesting the oil company re-route the pipeline that's being built from Ten Mile terminal in Mobile to the Chevron Refinery in Pascagoula, Miss. However, the proposed route is still in Mobile County's watershed.
"We've given an alternative route to MAWSS that pushed the pipeline approximately a mile away from the lake, it gets it over on the far corner of the MAWSS property," said Plains All American Managing Director of Engineering, Dwayne Koehn.
Koehn said redirecting the pipeline along Schillinger Road is not an option due to the amount of businesses it would be impacting, and diverting the line to the west of the watershed isn't efficient.
Pipeline already runs through watershed
Plains All-American already owns a pipeline that runs through a section of Big Creek Lake, from Ten Mile to Lumberton, Mississippi. Plains has owned the line since 2004 and said that pipeline has been in the ground for 60 years.
"It was replaced in the 90s (and) we have not had any issues with that pipe. It handles the same crude we're sending to Gulf Coast pipeline," Koehn said.
Plains All-American said it acquired the correct permits for the Gulf Coast pipeline from the city of Semmes Friday, July 19 which previously had a stop work order on the project.
Citizens fear once the project is complete, the company will transport more toxic oil known as tar sands through the pipeline.
"This pipeline is not designed to move tar sands that's the answer, that's not in the works," White said.
Oil company officials said additional safety measures for the pipeline are in place.
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