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Residents hear second gas line plan

They came, they saw, and most left pleased that it would not touch their back yards.

Dozens of concerned or merely curious central Pasco residents attended a presentation Wednesday organized by the SunShine Pipeline Co., which wants to a construct a natural gas line through Land O'Lakes.

Though another pipeline proposed to run through Land O'Lakes has drawn intense opposition from central Pasco residents, the SunShine plan drew little controversy at the meeting Wednesday.

"I was primarily concerned where the location was," said Karen Barrese of Ehren Cutoff Road as she left the presentation at Steve's Fountain View restaurant on U.S. 41. "It's going to miss my house. . . . I was relieved after looking at some of the information they could provide."

Several other people leaving the meeting did not understand that two different pipelines are being planned, or they confused the proposed SunShine pipeline with the more controversial proposal from Florida Gas Transmission Co.

Florida Gas wants to build an 815-mile pipeline that, through Pasco, would run parallel to U.S. 41 and then east along County Line Road and into Hillsborough County along Interstate 75. The county is fighting to force Florida Gas to move the line from U.S. 41 to State Road 52 and I-75.

SunShine has not yet submitted a formal route proposal to state regulators. But its preliminary route through Pasco runs from northeast Pasco to southwest, where it will serve the Florida Power Corp.'s Anclote power plant. Another big customer in Pasco would be Peoples Gas, which plans its own offshoot pipelines to distribute the gas to Dade City and north Tampa. To the north, the pipeline would run through eastern Hernando County and include a short offshoot to Florida Crushed Stone.

Company officials offered residents only preliminary information, but even staunch opponents of the Florida Gas proposal gave SunShine high marks for seeking public opinion early in the process.

"I think if Florida Gas Transmission had come in and talked to the people and explained all this and had the people be involved . . . this opposition (to their plans) would probably never have been like this," said Mike Malone, a member of the Central Pasco Coalition fighting the Florida Gas route.

SunShine representatives are scheduled to meet with county officials today to discuss the plans.