Environment
11:34 am
Tue July 30, 2013

Beshear Says He Won't Add Pipeline Regulations to Special Session Call

Governor Beshear says it’s unlikely he’ll ask state lawmakers to deal with regulations on pipelines when they assemble in Frankfort next month for a special session. The governor says he called the special assembly to draw new maps for House and Senate districts and doesn’t plan on adding anything else to the call.

Concerns about the lack of regulations governing natural gas liquids pipeline have prompted some officials (and citizens, who started an online petition) to recommend that legislators review Kentucky’s laws when they convene August 19th.

But Beshear said he doesn’t think that’s necessary.

“The issues involved in this proposed pipeline—they’re not moving fast enough that it’ll cause us a problem not to address them right now,” he said. “We’ll have plenty of time in January when the regular session starts to address any issues that come up.”

He added that discussing the pipeline wouldn’t make sense in a special session, because it will likely be a contentious issue.

“Special sessions cost us about $ 60,000 a day, cost all the taxpayers that,” Beshear said. “So you want to put issues on there only that there’s agreement on, if possible, so you can get in and out real quick.”

The Bluegrass Pipeline would carry materials like propane and butane across Kentucky, but isn’t required to get approval from the Public Service Commission like a natural gas pipeline would. As I reported last month:

Unlike with natural gas pipelines, NGL pipelines aren’t subject to comprehensive environmental studies. The company doesn’t have to prove the pipeline is necessary, like a public utility would have to. The construction of the line and basic maintenance is regulated by the federal Department of Transportation, but there are few restrictions on where the pipeline can go.

In Kentucky, Williams will have to get permits to cross streams, or withdraw large amounts of water. They’ll have to follow applicable rules for fugitive emissions, and will have to dispose of waste at a permitted facility. The company will need a 404 permit (commonly used for valley fills in surface coal mine operations) from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to cross wetlands or any navigable stream. But [Kentucky Resources Council Director Tom] FitzGerald is also calling for the Army Corps to complete a full-scale environmental impact study on the project; an Army Corps spokeswoman says it’s too early in the project to discuss that option.

Pipeline opponents also hoped the General Assembly would clarify questions about whether the pipeline would be able to use eminent domain to seize property from unwilling landowners.

The proposed route of the Bluegrass Pipeline crosses 13 Kentucky counties, stretching from Bracken to Breckinridge. Pipeline company Williams is holding information sessions over the next few weeks in many of the affected counties in Kentucky, Ohio and Pennsylvania; here’s a complete list:

All open houses will be held from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Please plan to join us at a time most convenient for you.

Monday, August 5
Guernsey County Library
63500 Byesville Road
Cambridge, OH 43725

Monday, August 5
Southern Hills Career
and Technology Center
9193 Hamer Road
Georgetown, OH 45121

Tuesday, August 6
Williamstown City Hall Senior Center
400 North Main Street
Williamstown, KY 41097

Tuesday, August 6
Friendship Center
100 Kensington Road NE
Carrollton, OH 44615

Wednesday, August 7
Das Dutch Village Inn
150 State Route 14
Columbiana, OH 44408

Wednesday, August 7
Paul Sawyier Public Library
319 Wapping Street
Frankfort, KY 40601

Thursday, August 8
Pritchard Community Center
404 S. Mulberry Street
Elizabethtown, KY 42701

Thursday, August 8
Hampton Inn & Suites
4 Holiday Boulevard
Grove City, PA 16137

Monday, August 12
Crooksville Recreation Center
100 S. Buckeye Street
Crooksville, OH 43731

Tuesday, August 13
Pickaway County Library
1160 N. Court Street
Circleville, OH 43113

Wednesday, August 14
Hillsboro Community Center/
Administration Room in City Hall
119 Governor Foraker Place
Hillsboro, OH 45133