Franklin County Fiscal Court to Consider Resolution Opposing Natural Gas Liquids Pipeline

The Franklin County Fiscal Court will consider a resolution to formally oppose the construction of a natural gas liquids pipeline at its meeting tomorrow.

The proposed Bluegrass Pipeline involves 500 miles of new construction through Ohio and 13 Kentucky counties, including Franklin County. If it’s built, it will carry about 200,000 barrels a day of natural gas liquids (NGLs) like butane, ethane and propane to the Gulf of Mexico. Opposition has sprung up along the proposed route, but Franklin County is the first county to consider an official resolution against the pipeline.

The draft resolution cites concerns about the pipeline’s effect on the environment and lax regulation.

WHEREAS, accidents and/or ruptures of NGL facilities and pipelines could have

catastrophic consequences to health, safety, welfare, and the environment extending great distances from the site; and

WHEREAS, water supplies, including ground water supplying our region, could be at risk of contamination due to the many waterway crossings and the unique geology of our area;

and

WHEREAS, requirements are insufficient for environmental review, regulation, and construction of NGL pipelines.

The resolution also opposes the use of eminent domain in the project. Earlier this week, Franklin County Attorney Rick Sparks told me that based on review of past eminent domain cases in Kentucky, he doesn’t believe pipeline company Williams would be able to use condemnation to build the Bluegrass Pipeline.

If the Franklin County Fiscal Court approves this resolution tomorrow, it will be the first county to file formal opposition to the project, though others may soon follow.

Scott County Judge-Executive George Lusby says he’s asked his county attorney to draft a resolution requesting a full environmental impact study be done on the project, and filing formal opposition to the use of eminent domain for the pipeline.

Though there are many opponents of the pipeline in Nelson County, Judge-Executive Dean Watts says there are many supporters as well and he doesn’t expect the fiscal court to vote on any resolutions.

The resolution makes a significant statement about how the county’s officials feel about the project, but Williams doesn’t need approval from the fiscal court to move ahead with the pipeline in Franklin County. There’s a petition going for Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear to put the issue on the docket for next month’s special legislative session, and urge lawmakers to pass laws regulating NGL pipelines.

Erica Peterson

Erica Peterson reports on energy and the environment for WFPL.

@ericampeterson

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