Kelly McKinney/ email@example.com
Feb 14, 2018
For years now, Kentucky counties and other municipalities, as well as various area environmental groups, have spoken up against an effort by energy infrastructure company Kinder Morgan to repurpose a natural gas pipeline to transport liquid gas. Now, an effort is underway to take their plea directly to the source of their concerns.
Craig Williams with the Kentucky Environmental Foundation presented a letter to the Madison County Fiscal Court Tuesday that the foundation intends to send to Steven J. Kean, president and CEO of Kinder Morgan. The letter reinforces the significant amount of opposition to the project, and asks that the company consider abandoning the effort, Williams said.
Kinder Morgan recently obtained approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to abandon 964 miles of natural gas pipeline (the Tennessee Gas Pipeline) in six states, including Kentucky. Approximately 24.5 miles of the pipeline are in Madison County.
The plan was proposed in 2015 and would see the 70-plus-year-old pipeline, built for transporting natural gas from Louisiana to Ohio, become a natural gas liquid pipeline pushing the substance from the north to south.
Magistrates voted to allow judge-executive Reagan Taylor to sign the letter in support.
"This is a hazardous issue that we don't want flowing through our county," magistrate John Tudor said.
Williams said the company has been unable to move forward with the project because it hasn't found any market interest, so he hopes company executives will be amenable to dropping its plans.
Williams said he is taking the letter to other Kentucky counties the pipeline flows through, as well as to Eastern Kentucky University president Michael Benson.
"We're making an end run here," Williams said, adding that he also plans to network with Tennessee counties in the line of the pipeline.
Safety concerns over the pipeline's age, and ability to withstand the pressure to move liquid gas have prompted the resistance.
"The pressure it takes to move a gas is less than the pressure it takes to move a liquid," Williams said.
Ordinances the fiscal court enacted in the summer of 2016 also might be a deterrent for the project's continuance, Williams said.
Despite letters of opposition from the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, the Kentucky Gas Association and Tennessee Gas Pipeline, the fiscal court in June 2016 unanimously approved ordinances that would require conditional use permits before a hazardous liquids pipeline may be re-purposed or a large natural gas pipeline compressor can be constructed.
The letter to Kean is not the only recent action taken by Kentucky organizations. Three environmental groups filed a Petition for Review on Jan. 31 with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals asking the court to review the decision by (FERC) approving the abandonment and re-purposing of the Tennessee Gas Pipeline, according to a press release from the Kentucky Environmental Foundation. The petitioning organizations — Kentucky Resources Council, Allegheny Defense Project and Kentucky Heartwood — argue that the FERC failed to give adequate consideration to the unique safety and environmental risks posed by approving the re-purposing of the seven-decade-old pipeline for transporting heavier, more volatile natural gas liquids.
According to its website, Kinder Morgan is one of the largest energy infrastructure companies in North America and owns an interest in or operates approximately 85,000 miles of pipelines and 152 terminals. The company's pipelines transport natural gas, gasoline, crude oil, carbon dioxide (CO2) and more.
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