United, Kentuckians are standing against the Bluegrass Pipeline | Kentuckians For The Commonwealth

United, Kentuckians are standing against the Bluegrass Pipeline

This week there were three big meetings of Kentuckians who joined up to learn more and speak out against the Bluegrass Pipeline proposed by Williams Energy Company.

In Washington County, the New Pioneers for a Sustainable Future organized a Community Information Session Wednesday night at the local opera house. More than 100 people attended, many of whom had questions and many of whom wanted to share concerns and information with their neighbors. Mike Zoeller, an area Planning and Zoning Commission member, was one of the many people who shared his concerns, which were informed by a history of dealing with other companies who wanted to drill in Nelson County several years ago.

UPDATE! The Franklin County Fiscal Court will discuss the NGL pipeline Monday, July 15th at 1:30 PM.  This meeting was just announced late Friday afternoon, so please help spread the word!

Monday, July 15 at 1:30
Franklin County Fiscal Court 
321 W. Main Street
Frankfort, KY 40601

Then, a Thursday night meeting in Nelson County. Lisa Aug, a Shelby County Chapter member says that “the testimony from local landowners was just blow-you-away amazing. Right before I left, people were demanding that Senator Jimmy Higdon tell them ‘what does the state get out of this?’"

Elizabeth Bondia, a Hardin County KFTC member, also went to the Nelson County meeting to learn more about the pipeline. “What I took away from the forum was that this pipeline is 24 inches in diameter, and will be run through karst prone areas (sinkholes and caves). Kentucky seems like a poor choice for this pipeline because our groundwater flows at a rate of 1/2 mile per hour, which might make clean-up from a spill ‘essentially impossible.’ This information was delivered by Mary Ann Chamberlain, who was quoting Jim Cobb, a Kentucky geologist. She went on to tell us that Mr. Cobb says a NGL spill in our karst areas would potentially take ‘centuries to recover.’ In comparison, in non-karst areas, groundwater moves at a rate from 1-12 inches per year.”

Elizabeth has already contacted her county officials about the pipeline.

Then, today, the Scott County Fiscal Court hosted Williams representative Wendell Hunt, who also represented Williams at the Nelson County fiscal court meeting in June.  The crowd seemed upset and confused by the way the Williams Company had been handling the pipeline.Among the concerns voiced were the public health risks, the benefits to Kentucky, the environmental risks, and the Williams Company’s ability to use eminent domain in negotiations. 

Many were concerned about the pipeline’s potential risks to the landowners.One man said that the pipeline would travel less than seventy feet from his house, and he didn’t know if it would be safe to keep his windows open.Others were concerned about the prospect of future building projects around the pipeline, as it is unsafe to build structures or plant trees within 25 feet of either side of the pipeline. 

Cindy Foster, a resident of northern Scott County, said that she is determined to fight the pipeline for all these reasons. "We also want to know why the representatives have been misleading us and lying to our neighbors. My neighbor was told that my husband and I are going to allow a pipeline easement so we can hunt on it. We don’t hunt. Another neighbor was told that he was the only one our road who did not sign the survey form. Others were misled to believe that they could hook into a natural gas line."

People also pointed out the lack of benefits to Kentucky and Scott County.Hunt responded with two benefits: cheaper, domestic plastics, which the NGLs would help to produce, and the added tax revenue to the county via the ad valorem tax. Many were doubtful that these would have much, if any, positive impact on the citizens of Scott County. Additionally, it’s not even clear that these “benefits” make sense, because everything on Williams’ website indicates that the NGLs are being piped to Louisiana for export, to make plastics to import back into the U.S..

The use of eminent domain was particularly upsetting to members of the Fiscal Court. Magistrate Tom Prather said that it seemed clear that this was a private venture, not for the public good.“I’m horrified by the possibility that this project could use the force of eminent domain.” The magistrates were also shocked that there was no requirement from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to do a comprehensive environmental impact study.Initially, the fiscal court assumed that that the pipeline would need to have a comprehensive environmental impact study for a permit, and Wendell Hunt offered nothing to correct them. Scott County member Amelia Cloud questioned it, and got Hunt to admit that the Corps of Engineers does not require a comprehensive study for NGL pipelines.

The fiscal court agreed to draft a two-part resolution after the meeting: the first part being to record their “grave concern” regarding the use of eminent domain by private companies against residents of Scott County, and the second part to request that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers require a comprehensive environmental impact study in order for the Williams Company to acquire a permit for the pipeline. 

Upcoming meetings on the Bluegrass Pipeline include a meeting at 6 p.m., July 16 at the Millville Christian Church in Woodford County, and a public meeting with the Woodford Fiscal Court at 6 p.m. on August 6. Williams is planning "open houses" in early August in Frankfort and Williamstown, and the Scott County Fiscal Court continues to request an evening forum. 

Click here to sign a petition to stop the Bluegrass Pipeline. Find a recent Herald-Leader article here. For more information, visit http://www.stopbluegrasspipeline.us/ 

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