Lawmakers express concerns over proposed repurposing of natural gas pipeline

09/09/2015 04:00 PM

FRANKFORT – Concerns over a proposed repurposing of an existing natural gas pipeline which runs through 23 Kentucky counties has property owners and lawmakers questioning whether construction of a new line would be a safer alternative.

The 964 mile Tennessee Gas pipeline, which would be a joint venture between Kinder Morgan Energy Partners and MarkWest, would carry raw NGLs from Ohio, though Kentucky and on to the Gulf Coast.

The pipelines path enters the state from Ohio in northeast Kentucky and follows a 256 mile path before exiting the state in Allen County.

Joe Livers, whose Marion County farm has one of the pipelines running under it, expressed concern to the Interim Joint Committee on Agriculture Wednesday that he has concerns about pipes which were first laid in the 1940’s being re-purposed to carry a hazardous and combustible material like Natural Gas Liquids or NGLs.

“There’s a big difference between natural gas and natural gas liquids, especially with the weight that it’s going to put on these lines,” Livers said. “These are lines that are nearly 75 years old.”

Another concern of Livers is the effects on the land and the community in the event of a leak or explosion which could cause a number of issues including affecting the water supply.

The pipeline goes up hill at an 80 degree angle on Livers property for nearly a quarter of a mile.

“It there would ever be a burst in that area, the first thing behind it is the creek, the next thing behind it is the Rolling Fork River, and the next thing on the Rolling Fork River is the water pumping station which provides the water for all of the county and provides some water for some of the adjoining counties,” Livers said.

Rep. Kelly Flood, D-Lexington, has concerns for the property owners who originally signed over their lands for the natural gas pipeline over 70 years ago. Now she says those owners are seeing those same pipelines being used to carry NGLs for a private profit-making entity.

“I think an overhaul is critical because at this point, we perhaps were more not necessarily laxed but with a greater good in mind,” Flood said. “We’re not as clear as where we are today.”

Eminent domain is another concern for property owners who might refuse to allow the pipeline to be re-purposed on their property.

Rep. James Kay, D-Versailles, says that the legislators should step up and forbid eminent domain to be used for this project.

“I say that there should not be a legal argument that you have the right to take someone’s property to put a dangerous, hazardous chemical pipeline in through the governments taking of the property,” Kay said. “We will look at this issue.”

The pipeline, which is still in a planning phase, follows a route close to Ashland, Morehead, Richmond, Danville, Campbellsville and Glasgow before exiting the state.


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