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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (CBSMiami/AP) — Electric Utility giant Duke Energy bought ownership stake in the proposed Sabal Trail natural gas pipeline that will run through Florida.

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In a statement released Tuesday, Duke Energy announced it will invest about $225 million in the approximately 500-mile pipeline.

The $3 billion pipeline will run from Alabama, across Georgia, and into Florida.

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The pipeline is scheduled to begin service in 2017. It will require federal and other regulatory approvals, which Sabal Trail Transmission hopes to secure by early 2016.

The pipeline drew protests from southwest Georgia residents last year, who said they do not want a pollution-emitting compression station near their homes.

Currently there are only two major pipelines that deliver natural gas to Florida. Both are nearing capacity.

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