Rowan Earth Day activities create pipeline awareness

To commemorate Earth Day, the Rowan County KFTC Chapter created new opportunities to raise awareness of the Utica Marcellus Texas Pipeline Project, a.k.a. Kinder Morgan’s proposal to re-purpose the Tennessee Gas Pipeline to carry hazardous natural gas liquids (NGLs).

On Friday, April 22, chapter members set up a table outside of the Fuzzy Duck, a local coffee shop and bookstore in downtown Morehead, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. provided patrons and passers-by with information about the dangers of NGLs and the perils of repurposing a seventy year-old pipeline.

Those who stopped to talk were given helpful handouts and recent news articles on the re-purposing project as well as copies of Balancing the Scales and promotional materials for KFTC.

As luck would have it, one of the U.S. Senate candidates was stopping by the same business while on the campaign trail that Friday, so the chapter was able to speak to the local press covering the candidate’s visit.

Doug Doerrfeld presented a succinct overview of the issue to a reporter for the local NPR station (WMKY) and Chris Merritt had a productive conversation with Larry Dehart, the reporter who had authored the wonderful series on the pipeline project for the Morehead News.

On Monday, April 25, chapter members drove out to neighborhoods in the direct path of the pipeline and, working in pairs, went door to door, providing homeowners with essential information about the re-purposing project.

People within the community were aware of the pipelines that ran so close to their homes, and many expressed a real concern regarding the dangers of a re-purposing project. Although chapter members clearly conveyed the fact that this business venture would require Kentucky to assume all of the risk for none of the profits, they also focused on the power of communal resistance, noting the positive action that has already been taken in Rowan County’s Fiscal Court and the successful efforts in western Massachusetts that caused Kinder-Morgan to halt a $3 billion dollar pipeline project there.

The response to the chapter’s efforts was overwhelmingly positive. Some homeowners expressed appreciation for KFTC efforts, and one woman even offered to follow up with neighbors.

Kathryn Reeder, one of the chapter volunteers, noted: “April 25 was a banner day for the KFTC pipeline canvassing group here in Rowan County. We visited dozens of homes to make residents better aware of the pipeline running through their neighborhoods and the dangerous implications of that pipeline should Kinder Morgan be allowed to re-purpose it. We informed some folks and commiserated with others – all the while expressing that only our joined voices can keep our county safe.”

Not wishing to let the positive momentum of the day go to waste, chapter member Erik Lewis tentatively secured a day for a public forum to be held at an elementary school that is dangerously close to the pipeline. At the forum, the chapter will be screening “The End Of The Line,” the documentary that records the successful citizens campaign to stop the proposed Bluegrass Pipeline in central Kentucky.

The chapter also will be formulating ways to foster more community involvement. Check out future updates from the Rowan County chapter for more on this important initiative.