Piedmont Natural Gas reconsidering pipeline route after property owners mobilized against the project


TRAVELERS REST, S.C. (WSPA)- Piedmont Natural Gas is no longer considering building a pipeline through property owners’ land in northern Greenville County after they mobilized against the proposed project.

“We were so excited to know that nobody was going to be able to take our property,” said Sharon Hinrichs, who owns property in the Travelers Rest area.

Hinrichs and dozens of her neighbors in northern Greenville County received letters from Piedmont Natural Gas in September, saying crews would be surveying their land. They learned the company was considering routing a natural gas pipeline through their property. It would require clearing a 50 foot wide easement of structures, trees, and driveways.

More than 30 landowners banded together to oppose the project.

“We were like, we’re going to fight this thing and we’re going to win,” she said.

A few months later, they did.

Another letter from the company informed Hinrichs and her neighbors their land was no longer being considered.

“We always consider landowner feedback when siting a project,” said Jennifer Sharpe, who is a spokesperson for Piedmont Natural Gas.

Piedmont Natural Gas is a owned by Duke Energy. Sharpe said the pipeline is needed to meet a growing demand in the area and PNG remains in the early stages of analysis for the project.

“We are listening to many voices in the community, including government officials [and] landowners as we continue with our assessment and trying to get this right,” she said.

Sharpe said it’s too early to say if a different location is being considered for a pipeline.

“There’s no way for me to pinpoint for you a direction or an area because it’s truly a beginning assessment,” she said.

It’s something Hinrichs worries about, too.

“If not us, then who?” she said.

Environmental group Upstate Forever also opposes the project. Shelley Robbins, who is the energy and state policy director for the nonprofit, claims a pipeline the size of what PNG is proposing isn’t needed.

For now, the group formed by Hinrichs and her neighbors is leaving their anti-pipeline yard signs and website intact, just in case other landowners want their support later.

“They might be the big company, but we’re not afraid to fight the big companies,” Hinrichs said.

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