Palmetto Pipeline Talking Points

Public Commentary Period Extended Until May 15

Because of the amount of opposition the PP has received, the DOT has extended the deadline for public commentary until May 15.

We encourage you to send public comments to the Department of Transportation to stop the Palmetto Pipeline. Please feel free to use any of the following talking points, add your personal thoughts and ideas, and submit them to the the following address by May 15: Georgia Department of Transportation, 10th Floor Office of Utilities, 600 West Peachtree St., NW, Atlanta, Ga., 30308.

Georgia WAND has a long history of fighting for environmental justice in Georgia communities affected by radiological contamination from the nuclear weapons and nuclear energy industries. Georgia WAND centers our environmental work around people who have direct radiation exposure from the water, air, crops, and land, and we believe in building their leadership and honoring their experiences as lived truths.

Nearly 100 miles (98 to be exact) of the 350+ mile proposed Palmetto Pipeline would run directly through an area of Georgia that is highly contaminated with radiation, including 25 miles in Burke County; 34 miles in Screven County; and 39 miles in Effingham County. In some places, the pipeline would be a mere four feet below the surface.

Radiological environmental testing conducted from 2000-2002 showed that areas being considered for the pipeline in these counties found elevated levels of contaminants. The pipeline would stir up soil and sediment that has higher than background levels of radiological contaminants, and this would be unhealthy for the surrounding community and for the pipeline construction workers.

The pipeline would be laid right through areas of elevated radiological activity in sediment in three counties: Burke, Screven, and Effingham. Samples from the 2002 study showed radionuclides in elevated quantities in these areas, with Cesium being the most significant (up to 540 times background levels). Plutonium is also present in elevated levels, and remains high up to 100 miles downstream of Savannah River Site. Since the half-life of Plutonium is very long, scientists are concerned about future impacts. Cobalt 60 is also present.  In Burke County, in the area where the proposed pipeline would be placed, Cesium and Plutonium have also been detected in the soil. Burke County is downwind and downstream from SRS. Therefore, Tritium and Cesium has also been found in green leafy vegetables in the sample area in Burke County and Southeast Richmond County, where the pipeline would traverse. The most recent data we have available is from 2002, before DOE funding for independent radiological environmental monitoring was abruptly stopped; the community and Georgia WAND believe the problem has only gotten worse over the past 13 years.

As you can see, running the pipeline through Burke, Screven, and Effingham Counties presents a severe environmental issue because we have unresolved contaminants in the area that would be disrupted with construction; harm the environment, workers, residents.

The south does not need to continue to be a public toilet for industry, especially communities, largely Black and migrant worker communities, that already have a public health crisis on their hands from radiation contamination. There are hundreds of cases where these pipes have ruptured and ruined the soil by leaking harmful substance to the earth and the communities.

Lastly, we believe it is an injustice to seize someone’s property using imminent domain for this pipeline. Placing pipeline that is structurally unsound and has failed multiple times in the past on private property is egregious, especially given the fact that if it ruptures and ruins the land, people have to pay taxes on the property.

To get more involved in our fight for environmental justice, especially as it pertains to the nuclear weapons and energy industries, and to help amplify our struggle, email Bernice Johnson-Howard, Georgia WAND Field Coordinator, Bernice Johnson-Howard at or 706.945.7819.