Environment

The fiscal court in Boyle County, Kentucky and the Danville City Commission have formally approved resolutions opposing a proposed natural gas liquids pipeline that would cross the county.

Both bodies are also asking the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to conduct an environmental impact study before granting approval for the conversion of the Tennessee Gas Pipeline.

The Tennessee Gas Pipeline is already in the ground, carrying natural gas from the Gulf of Mexico through Kentucky. But the proposal by company Kinder Morgan would reverse the pipeline’s flow and convert it to instead carry natural gas liquids.

NGLs are the byproducts of natural gas drilling: hydrocarbons such as ethane, butane and propane. They’re used in manufacturing plastics, synthetic rubber and antifreeze, but they also include health hazards and the risks of water or soil contamination if a leak occurs.

Mark Morgan is an attorney in Danville opposing the pipeline. He said right now, FERC just requires an environmental assessment in making a determining whether Kinder Morgan can abandon the natural gas pipeline. But he feels a more rigorous environmental impact study — or EIS — is necessary.

“It’s not a governmental or public entity; this is a private entity trying to take hazardous liquids that are a byproduct of fracking and trying to transmit them down to coastal cities so they can gasbe shipped over to China for plastic production,” he said.

The joint resolution was passed earlier this week by the Danville City Commission and the Boyle County Fiscal Court. It raises concerns about the Tennessee Gas Pipeline’s age (72 years old), the health and safety hazards posed by NGLs, and the pipeline’s proximity to sites like Mammoth Cave National Park and Lake Herrington.

Both Boyle and Madison counties have previously adopted zoning ordinances requiring any natural gas liquids pipelines to first get conditional use permits from the county’s zoning board.

Kinder Morgan spokeswoman Melissa D. Ruiz said the company has met with officials in both Boyle County and Danville.

“We understand their concerns regarding the projects,” Ruiz said. “At this point, we are still working through the approval process with FERC.”

Erica Peterson is WFPL's Director of News and Programming.