Georgia Media Mogul Leads Opposition To “Palmetto Pipeline”

FOURTH ESTATE WAGES WAR AGAINST PROPOSED PROJECT  || By FITSNEWS || A Texas-based company looking to build a 360-mile underground gasoline and diesel fuel pipeline from Jacksonville, Florida to Belton, S.C. has a big problem on its hands: Georgia. We chronicled the Peach State’s environmental opposition to this pipeline in a…


|| By FITSNEWS || A Texas-based company looking to build a 360-mile underground gasoline and diesel fuel pipeline from Jacksonville, Florida to Belton, S.C. has a big problem on its hands: Georgia.

We chronicled the Peach State’s environmental opposition to this pipeline in a previous post, but it turns out there are some heavy hitters backing that movement.  One of them?  Clay Boardman – the Augusta-based venture capitalist and, um, “rebound” of former S.C. first lady Jenny Sanford.  Boardman’s family is supporting one of the environmental groups opposing the pipeline – which would run through Georgia’s coastal regions and then alongside the Savannah River before crossing over into South Carolina.

But the undisputed leader of the opposition to the pipeline is a media mogul – William S. “Billy” Morris III.  A member of Augusta National, Morris is chairman and CEO of the media company which owns The Augusta Chronicle, The Savannah Morning News and the Jacksonville, Florida-based Florida Times-Union.

Not surprisingly, all three of these papers have been waging non-stop war against the pipeline project … which as currently contemplated would run through some of the 74,000 acres of land Morris owns in Burke and Screven counties (on the border of Georgia and South Carolina).

One of Morris’ own papers even quoted him as the leading opponent of the project …

“Pipelines are disruptive of the land and the waterways; they are dangerous and should not be built unless there is an overriding necessity which demands this need,” Morris said, according to one of the papers he owns.  “This is not the case in this proposed pipeline. In this case there is no overriding need for a pipeline. All of the cities along this proposed pipeline are adequately being supplied with petroleum products by alternate means including some existing pipelines.”

Hmmmm …

Look: This website makes no bones about its view on issues.  And we occasionally quote our founding editor Will Folks in articulating those views.

But there’s a big difference: This outlet is not claiming – and has never claimed – journalistic objectivity.  Hell, our motto is “Unfair, Imbalanced.”

Morris’ papers?  They do claim that mantle.

Morris is hugely influential.  Georgia governor Nathan Deal routinely stops by Augusta to “kiss the ring,” one source told us, and his political connections in the Peach State run exceedingly deep.  In fact we’re told he recently had local law enforcement issue warrants for the arrest of surveyors who were trying to do preliminary survey work for trespassing.

Wow … that’s pretty heady stuff for a project that Texas-based energy infrastructure provider Kinder Morgan reportedly viewed as a “done deal” prior to announcing its plans.

“Kinder Morgan greased the right palms and this was a done deal way before it was ever made public,” a source familiar with the project tells FITS.

However they quickly added “if anybody has the power to kill this thing, Billy Morris and his buddies at the Augusta National can probably do it.”

Our view on the pipeline – which would run for approximately 100 miles in South Carolina through Aiken, Edgefield, McCormack, Abbeville and Anderson counties – is pretty simple.  As long as eminent domain isn’t being abused and taxpayer subsidies aren’t being doled out, what’s the problem?


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Alias The Buzzman May 5, 2015 at 9:45 am

Once again, Will, you position on eminent domain has not been consistent at all. It has been rampantly abused where the Keystone XL Pipeline is concerned. And by a company in a foreign nation, at that!

A couple of stories back, you stated unequivokably that you were adamantly opposed to the use of eminent domain to seize land. Then you dialed it back to a different position, with all this stuff about “abuse” of it.

jimlewisowb May 5, 2015 at 10:03 am

the key here Buz is “different positions”

if one hasn’t tried all 69, then one must constantly contort one’s self in order to be prepared when the opportunity arises

Alias The Buzzman May 5, 2015 at 10:06 am


I’ll have to admit, I have not tried them all. Got real hung up on a few of ’em, then the body “aged out” on being able to do the others.

They would result in Kama Sutures. And worse.

nitrat May 5, 2015 at 11:21 am

He just follows instructions from the Kochs.

Howard Rich May 5, 2015 at 11:59 am

Me too!

Eminent Domain Abuse May 5, 2015 at 11:58 am

Private use of eminent domain is abuse and screw the supreme court for believing it isn’t.

jimlewisowb May 5, 2015 at 9:59 am

“……Nathan Deal routinely stops by Augusta to “kiss the ring,”….”

Shame on me that I never thought of that one – makes the old standard “kiss my asshole” somewhat quaint

CSRA Guest May 5, 2015 at 10:04 am

Boardman became a “venture capitalist” after he sold his convenience stores, all supplied by his fuel distributorship. This deal makes distributors purchasing fjuel in Belton more competitive, and Boardman less so. Boardman loves fuel pipelines, just so long as they put money in his pocket.

Guest May 5, 2015 at 11:13 am

Yes, the Smile gas stations. But he also sold the fuel depots years after that transaction. Seems his new found mega-wealth has allowed him to become an environmentalist.:

“His family history in Augusta goes back more than a century and a half, but most of the family’s wealth was built in the late 20th century. Hollis C. Boardman formed People’s Oil Co. in the early 1900s. His son, Alonzo, created Boardman Oil Co. Hollis’ grandsons, Jack and Red Boardman, Clay’s father, entered the gasoline business in the 50s. They struck it big after the gasoline crisis in the early 70s when they built the Smile Gas brand.

Smile Gas would become a chain of 67 stores and 20 vacant future store sites at the time of its sale in 1999. Sons Clay and Braye eventually took over the gas stations, then Clay expanded into petroleum storage. He owned petroleum storage facilities in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Georgia, where trucks would come and load their gasoline, diesel fuel and jet fuel.

In 1999, the family sold the gas stations for about $70 million, according to a report in The Augusta Chronicle. In 2004, Clay sold the petroleum terminals for about $75 million, according to the Houston Business Journal.”

Bible Thumper May 5, 2015 at 10:12 am

The closer a pipeline tank farm is to your home the cheaper your fuel; the safer its delivery; the less carbon and other pollutants released into the atmosphere.

SCBlues May 5, 2015 at 10:21 am

Makes sense too me. You married? I am bi but love to release pollutants into the atmosphere with a strong man? FastEddy is a wimp.

easterndumbfuckistan May 5, 2015 at 10:45 am

Good morning Flip, fc, pogo, Sandi, Guest, fucktwat, etc. etc. etc.

Trolling 101 Professor May 5, 2015 at 12:00 pm

He dropped my class. Sad to say that boy has no future. I suppose someone has to go collect the shopping carts at Walmart, though.

GrandTango May 5, 2015 at 10:20 am

Just like Saudi Arabia HATES the Keystone Pipeline and Obama HATES a tax cut…

Dumb@$$….Who LIKES their competition…

SCBlues May 5, 2015 at 10:22 am

You are correct.

west_rhino May 5, 2015 at 12:27 pm

“if anybody has the power to kill this thing, Billy Morris and his buddies at the Augusta National can probably do it.”

Never mind that they are upstream of Savannah River Site and Georgia Power’s Plant Vogtle which has at least two nuclear power reactors that provides power for the presses and chillers for the taps in Augusta’s bars… but I digress, there’s no politician they won’t buy. Caveat emptor.

RogueElephant May 5, 2015 at 12:59 pm

Why can’t people just for once , work together for the common good ? Once a pipeline is put down no one even goes around it for years at a time. We have one a few miles down the road, and if it weren’t for the “pipeline buried ” signs no one would even know it was there. Very unlike the train loads of oil or the truck tankers running up and down the roads. My admonishment to those that want to impede progress is ; GROW UP.

sparklecity May 5, 2015 at 10:38 pm

They are safer to a degree………..
Till one of the things ruptures. They had a rupture in one on the Greenville/Laurens county line some years back and it was a fucking mess.

baked May 5, 2015 at 1:28 pm

One of billy Morris’s buddies at augusta national is fellow member clay boardman, and billy doesn’t own the savannah paper…his brother charlie does. And they two haven’t spok to each other in years

GOB May 5, 2015 at 1:47 pm

Wrong. Uncle Billy owns Savannah paper. Charles owns a few smaller papers.

Baked May 7, 2015 at 5:22 pm

Wrong. Billy owns the augusta chronicle. Charlie owns the savannah paper. Look it up

snarkycondition May 5, 2015 at 7:27 pm

You are missing the story. Billy Morris is a long-time (decades long) director of the Southern Company, the energy giant that will one day own SCE&G and currently owns Florida Power and Georgia Power.


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