Franklin County has become the first to pass a measure blocking the Bluegrass Pipeline from applying for permits to cross county roads. The county’s magistrates voted 5 to 2 in favor of the measure last week.
The resolution places an emergency moratorium on the issuance of any permits for hazardous liquids pipelines that need to cross county roads. This could apply to the proposed Bluegrass Pipeline; pipeline company Williams wants to carry natural gas liquids across more than a dozen Kentucky counties including Franklin. The project has met with opposition from residents worried about plunging property values, environmental degradation and possible explosions.
Franklin County Attorney Rick Sparks says the moratorium will allow more time for evaluation of whether the current permitting laws are sufficient.
“The idea of the moratorium was basically to give the county more time to evaluate its permitting process for those pipelines or transfer pipelines that cross county roads,” he said. “Our current permitting process is simply put up a $500 bond, repair the road, get your $500 back. It did not envision pipelines carrying hazardous or dangerous materials not otherwise regulated by the Public Service Commission crossing county roads.”
Sparks said the moratorium will give the county a year to figure out how to protect the safety of its residents.
Williams Company spokesman Tom Droege sent this statement in response to the measure:
“We are disappointed with the decision by Franklin County magistrates, especially after our team spent a great deal of time answering questions from more than 500 people during the series of open houses last week in Kentucky. We are still early in the process of determining the route of Bluegrass Pipeline and we remain committed to working cooperatively with county officials and their constituents as we move forward.”