Saturday, July 13, 2013

Pipeline proposal causing concerns, several meetings: Mon. in Frankfort, Tue. in Millville, later in Versailles

UPDATE: About 60 people attended the Frankfort meeting, which "grew heated," reports Ryan Quinn of The State Journal. Franklin County Attorney Rick Sparks said the company does not have the power to condemn property in Kentucky through eminent domain. (Read more)

Several meetings have been scheduled to discuss the proposed pipeline that would carry natural-gas liquids through Central Kentucky, including the greater Midway area.

The Franklin County Fiscal Court will hold a public meeting on the issue Monday, July 15 at 1:30 p.m. A representative of the Tulsa-based Williams Companies, one of two partners in the project, is scheduled to make a brief presentation. He did likewise at Friday's meeting of the Scott County Fiscal Court, where residents expressed "strong emotions," reported the Georgetown News-Graphic.

People from several counties met in Versailles and Bardstown this week to discuss the pipeline, and at least three other meetings about it are scheduled soon in Woodford County. At 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 16, a citizens' meeting will be held at Millville Christian Church.  Woodford Fiscal Court is scheduled to discuss the pipeline in its work session at 6 p.m. July 23 at the courthouse in Versailles. A citizens' meeting about the pipeline is set for 6 p.m. Aug. 6 at the courthouse.

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2013/07/11/2711769/underground-gas-pipeline-in-central.html#storylink=cpy

The exact route of the pipeline will be determined by negotiations with landowners and perhaps court action. The company is seeking easements 50 feet wide, plus a temporary 50 feet for construction, and says it is trying to use existing utility-easement corridors. Williams' generalized route map shows it going through much of the Midway ZIP code area in Franklin and Woodford counties before heading west, crossing the Kentucky River near Millville and going back into Franklin County:
For maps of the entire pipeline route, from Pennsylvania to Louisiana, click here.
The pipeline proposal has drawn skepticism from residents who fear leaks or explosions of the flammable liquids. "There is a lot of concern about the project," Woodford County Judge-Executive John Coyle told the Lexington Herald-Leader. "If an accident happens and there's a break in the line, what the effects would be to the water and the soil and the cattle and the people. . . . If the benefits are going to outweigh the risks."

Woodford County resident Lori Garkovich, a rural sociology professor at the University of Kentucky, told the Herald-Leader, "A pipeline rupture has a low probability of occurrence, but it has a very high probability of damage if it does occur. If you look at federal data on accidents per mile, these pipelines that carry hazardous liquids represent the smallest amount of pipeline miles, but over half of all the incidents."

The state Public Service Commission says it has no authority over the pipeline because it does not fit the state's definition of a utility, but the Kentucky Resources Council is disputing that. Council Director Tom FitzGerald argues that if the pipeline is not a utility, its owners do not have the power to condemn private property for it.

At an early meeting in Bardstown, "A representative for Williams said it was unclear whether Kentucky law would allow the company to use the right of eminent domain, but it preferred not to exercise it," Randy Patrick reported for The Kentucky Standard. "State Sen. Jimmy Higdon, R-Lebanon,  said it was unclear as to whether a private company could get eminent domain for a non-utility pipeline, but it is not the legislature’s intent that it could. Higdon and state Rep.  David Floyd, R-Bardstown, urged residents to call Gov. Steve Beshear’s office and ask that he add to his call for a special session on Aug. 19 discussion of a bill to allow an existing state Board on Electric Generation and Transmission Siting to have the authority to regulate natural gas liquids pipelines."

Fitzgerald has called for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to conduct a study for an environmental impact statement. At the Scott County meeting, Magistrate Tom Prather said he would be appalled if the Corps does not do a study before construction, Nancy Royden reported for the News-Graphic. Fitzgerald says a study would take a year; Williams says it wants to have the pipeline operating by 2015.

FitzGerald has posted online a detailed discussion of the pipeline, much of it oriented to landowners' concerns. To read it, click here.
The state
Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2013/07/11/2711769/underground-gas-pipeline-in-central.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2013/07/11/2711769/underground-gas-pipeline-in-central.html#storylink=cpy

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