Craig Williams quoted by the Richmond Register in reference to the local natural gas pipeline.
Original story by Bill Robinson for the Richmond Register Find the original here.
Earlier this month, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission delayed until Nov. 2 a decision on whether to require an environmental impact study before Kinder Morgan can be allowed to repurpose a 24-inch natural gas pipeline that runs across Madison County on its way from Pennsylvania to Louisiana.
A decision was expected by Sept. 2, according to Craig Williams of the Berea-based Kentucky Environmental Foundation.
His group was notified of the delay because it filed study seeking an EIS rather than a less-stringent environmental assessment or EA for the project, Williams said.
Federal regulators will use findings from either an EIS or an EA in deciding whether to allow repurposing of the line.
The delay is a hopeful sign, Williams saod.
“I think we and other commenters raised enough issues that the FERC is taking a second look at Kinder Morgan’s plans,” Williams said.
However, he acknowledge that other issues, such as the controversy of a proposed energy pipeline through lands in the Dakotas considered sacred by American Indian tribes, may have temporarily diverted the FERC’s attention.
Kinder Morgan wants to abandon the now inactive pipeline so that it may send natural gas liquids from hydraulic fracturing wells in Pennsylvania to Louisiana for export by ship to Asia and other markets.
Constructed in the 1940s soon after World War II, the pipeline formerly carried natural gas from Louisiana to the northeastern United States.
The pipeline passes near Kit Carson Elementary School, the Richmond Senior Citizens Center and near or through several residential areas: the Miller’s Landing, Rolling Hills and Covington Woods subdivisions in Richmond and the Rose Hills Deer Creek and Hill Top Acres subdivisions west of the city.
In May, the Madison Fiscal Court adopted an ordinance requiring a conditional use permit from the county board of zoning adjustments before an energy transmission pipeline may be repurposed.
The Boyle Fiscal Court and the Danville City Commission passed similar ordinances drafted with the assistance of Tom FitzGerald of the Kentucky Resources Defense Council, who also advised Madison County.
The local regulatory ordinances were opposed by the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and the Kentucky Oil and Gas Association, which sent letters to Madison County officials.
Kinder Morgan also claimed that federal law exempts the interstate pipeline from local regulation, and it threatened legal action if the county seeks to inhibit its plans.
The Madison Fiscal Court also moved to require a county permit before a compressor station may be constructed for natural gas transmission lines.
The line that Kinder Morgan wants to repurpose is one of several that cross the county, and it wants to construct a large compressor station off Hackett Pike, northeast of Richmond, for another large natural gas line it owns.
Williams asked pipeline opponents who haven’t voiced an opinion on the pipeline conversion to send comments to federal regulators.
Commenters should refer to: Abandonment and Capacity Restoration Project under Docket Number CP15-88.
Letters may be mailed to:
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street, NE, Washington, DC 20426.
“Request that FERC require a full environmental impact study (EIS) rather than just the environmental assessment currently underway,” Williams said.
He recommended citing several reasons for an EIS:
1. The proposed repurposed pipeline was constructed, welded and back-filled 72 years ago, when the standards for all three processes were far less stringent, and has suffered decades of wear and tear since.
2. The substance to be transported (natural gas liquids) by the repurposed line is far more toxic and exponentially more explosive than the current transported substance, natural gas.
3. The company proposes both to reverse the flow and to increase the pressure on this very old pipeline, a recipe for potential disaster.
4. The pipeline route crosses or comes very close to the public water supplies of at least two counties (Boyle and Marion).
5. Kinder Morgan’s safety record is open to question, and information about past incidents may be obtained online at sightline.org/…/wall-street-worries-about-kinde…/
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