Anderson County passes resolution in support of pipeline spill cleanup

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By Stan Welch

Anderson County Council District Seven Councilwoman Cindy Wilson took her crusade to force the Kinder Morgan corporation to complete its cleanup of a 2014 fuel spill at the Cheddar tank farm to the rest of the County Council Tuesday night. She came away armed with a unanimously approved resolution stating the County’s position on the matter.

In December of 2014, it was discovered that a repair on the Plantation Pipeline owned by Kinder Morgan had failed and spilled approximately 360,000 gallons of gasoline into portions of Brown’s Creek and Cupboard Creek, and associated wetlands. In a Corrective Action Plan (CAP) recently submitted to DHEC for approval, Kinder Morgan’s consulting firm outlined the recovery and cleanup efforts undertaken over the last two years.

Wilson’s problem with that effort lies in the conceded act that only a little more than half of the spilled fuel has been recovered. One hundred sixty thousand gallons remain on the ground and in the water, according to Kinder Morgan’s own figures. Wilson, along with the Southern Environmental Law Center and Upstate Forever, want the company’s efforts to continue; a course of action that would be significantly altered if DHEC approves the proposed CAP.

The resolution Wilson sponsored Tuesday night reiterated her concerns and clarified the details of the spill and the cleanup, as conducted so far. It also called on the full Council to remind DHEC that “a timely and complete cleanup is necessary to protect the environment of Anderson County and to restore the damaged property rights” of those impacted by the spill.

The resolution goes on to state that the Council encourages DHEC to hold a public meeting concerning the terms of the proposed CAP, with representatives of the corporation on hand to explain their proposal, prior to DHEC’s ruling.

The resolution also encourages DHEC to address and improve their system for providing public access to process for public comment on such issues. Wilson has been adamant in her complaint that notification of the public comment period on this particular CAP was under publicized, and difficult to access on the DHEC website. The resolution encourages a more user friendly method to allow greater and easier public access to such notifications.

Wilson had insisted on a week’s extension on the public comment period. That extension ended just before Tuesday night’s Council meeting.

In another resolution approved Tuesday night, the Palmetto High School Varsity Competitive Cheerleaders were recognized for winning the 2016 South Carolina State Championship in the 3A Class.

The Council also passed a resolution honoring the Townsville Fire Department for their heroic actions during a school shooting at Townville Elementary school earlier this year.