Pendleton and Shelby counties have joined the growing number of Kentucky counties registering formal opposition to–or requesting more regulation and study–of a proposed natural gas liquids pipeline. This brings the total number of counties passing some sort of resolution to seven.
If it’s built, the Bluegrass Pipeline project will carry the byproducts of natural gas drilling–materials like propane, butane and ethane, from the Northeast to the Gulf of Mexico. The proposed route crosses 13 Kentucky counties, but land agents have been surveying in additional counties too, trying to figure out the best route. In the past several months, the project has attracted widespread opposition from Kentuckians, but pipeline company Williams says it’s received permission to survey land from 93 percent of the homeowners agents have approached.
Pendleton County’s resolution lists concerns about the lack of regulation of NGL pipelines, and the threat of eminent domain:
The possibility that landowners in Pendleton County may be burdened with easements on their property for the pipeline due to threat that their property may be condemned in absence of agreement. The lack of clear limitations on the exercise of eminent domain in Kentucky law leaves open the possibility that a private, for profit company that is not a Kentucky-regulated public utility, may obtain easements under threat of condemnation even though Kentucky law might not support such an action. Negotiations for acquisition of easements under duress are inherently unfair.
The resolution asks the governor to add pipeline regulation and eminent domain to the special session that’s currently underway, or make it a priority for the regular session. It also calls for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to conduct a full-scale environmental study of the pipeline.
Representatives of the Williams Company have said they believe the company has the power of eminent domain in Kentucky, though they would only use it as a last resort. But several Kentucky attorneys have disagreed. Most recently, Attorney General Jack Conway told CN2 that he doesn’t think the company could successfully use eminent domain to build the pipeline.