Franklin County has become the first Kentucky county to pass a resolution opposing a proposed natural gas liquids pipeline.
It’s been less than two months since survey work began on the proposed Bluegrass Pipeline, and opposition to the project has grown. The pipeline would carry natural gas liquids, or NGLs, from drilling operations in the Northeast to the Gulf of Mexico. These NGLs are a byproduct of natural gas fracking, and can be processed to make products such as synthetic rubber and plastics.
Franklin County Fiscal Court is the first county to pass any official resolution about the pipeline. It lays out concerns about the potential environmental effects and lack of regulation of NGL pipelines.
Franklin County Judge-Executive Ted Collins said he hopes the measure helps raise awareness.
“Awareness that this project is being proposed through our community,” he said. “Awareness of risk that could be involved with a project such as this going through our community.”
Collins says he’s not sure what the next step is. Some are calling for Governor Steve Beshear to address pipeline regulations in next month’s special legislative session. Collins says he expects there will be a response on several fronts.
“We’re in the early stage of this,” he said. “There will be some concerns from local government. There will be some concerns from state government. There will be some concerns from the federal government. When you go crossing these waterways, the Army Corps of Engineers doesn’t take that lightly.”
Technically the pipeline doesn’t need approval from the county to proceed. But Collins says pipeline company Williams may need permits from the fiscal court to cross county roads.
In a statement, Williams spokesman Tom Droege said the company is disappointed that the county passed a resolution at this early a stage in the project
“We are committed to constructing and operating a safe and reliable pipeline,” he wrote. “It’s also important to understand that development and construction activity related to this pipeline will deliver significant jobs and serve as an economic boost in Franklin County, as it will in all areas along the route. The pipeline will transport natural gas liquids that are driving America’s affordable-energy revolution as well as fueling a renaissance in American chemical industry and manufacturing.”
The company is holding an open house on August 7 in Frankfort. It begins at 5p.m. at the Paul Sawyier Public Library.