Pipeline plan triggers fears

Plans to build a major natural gas pipeline that would run from southeast Mississippi through parts of Eastabuchie and Petal has some local residents alarmed.

Their concerns follow a public hearing in Hattiesburg Tuesday night.

David Hammond says he's worried for his family's safety, because of a plan calling for construction of a major natural gas pipeline near his home.

But Hammond's not the only nearby resident fearing a potential disaster.

"If this pipeline in its location near my house were to ignite, my family would be incinerated."

Those concerns prompted a public hearing by the federal Energy Regulatory Commission in Hattiesburg.

But Hammond says it was anything but helpful.

"Everyone was looking for a question-and-answer session and then they shut the meeting down and started circulating around so the questions could only be on a one-on-one basis."

The proposed southeast supply header pipeline would range from 36 to 42 inches in diameter and would run from Mobile, Alabama through south Mississippi and into eastern Louisiana.

The effort is a joint venture of Centerpoint and Spectra Energy which plan to contract with Houston, Texas-based Wilbros Construction for the project.

"Another issue is the contractor ordered to lay the pipe has the worst construction record as far as safety."

7 ON YOUR SIDE contacted proposed contractor, Wilbros Construction, but we were unable to get a comment concerning the allegations.

Construction of the pipeline is expected to begin this November and be completed by summer 2008.