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Lack of P&Z in Garrard prevents action against pipeline proposal, judge-exec says

LANCASTER — There is strong opposition coming from Boyle and other counties affected by Kinder Morgan’s proposed changes to the Tennessee Natural Gas pipeline, but despite the affected pipeline running in the area of Herrington Lake in Garrard County, there hasn’t been the same level of outcry.

“We don’t find that the folks in Garrard County seem to be engaged in this,” Safe Coalition Moderator Rollin Tarter said at the Safe Communities of Central Kentucky Coalition  meeting on Thursday. “We need to make that happen.”

Safe Communities member Roger Trent said he thinks Garrard residents should be more concerned due to a previous explosion in Garrard County in the late 1980s.

Garrard County Judge-Executive John Wilson said people in Garrard County are concerned about safety and the state of the environment if the proposed pipeline changes are allowed.

Garrard County does not have a planning and zoning board, Wilson said, which means “there is very little the fiscal court can do to stand in the way of the project.”

The proposal to reverse the flow of the pipeline and use it for potentially hazardous natural gas liquids (NGLs) has been discussed among Garrard County magistrates, Wilson said. But “I don’t think we have a lot of options to stop it,” he said.

Wilson said Boyle County Judge-Executive Harold McKinney has taken the lead on the issue and keeps him informed of the situation as McKinney is opposed to the project.

Lancaster Mayor Chris Davis said the pipeline hasn’t been discussed during city public meetings.

“From my understanding, the pipeline will not be coming through the city limits,” Davis said. “It will be going through the north end of the county, therefore, we haven’t had any open-session dialogue on the pipeline within the city government.”

In Boyle County, the Boyle County Fiscal Court, Danville City Commission and all members of the Danville-Boyle County Economic Development Partnership have formally disapproved of the plan.

The groups say they are concerned about the condition of the aging pipeline and the fact it was not designed to carry heavier and potentially dangerous NGLs. It has been argued that a possible leak or break in the line, especially near Herrington Lake, could lead to major pollution and health issues for the entire region. Herrington Lake is a source of drinking water for Danville and many surrounding areas.

Kinder Morgan’s proposal would affect Line 1 of the Tennessee Gas Pipeline, which is a 960-mile pipeline from Louisiana to Ohio that currently carries natural gas and was completed around 1944. The proposed change would reverse the flow of the pipeline and allow Kinder Morgan to use it as part of a larger plan to transport NGLs.

An environmental assessment of the proposal is still in the works. The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission plans to issue the environmental assessment on Nov. 2. Those opposed to the plan hope FERC will require a full environmental impact study of the proposal.