FERC decision is not the end of opposition to pipeline plan

Published 4:41 pm Saturday, October 28, 2017

Dear Editor,

As one member of COPC (Citiens Opposing the Pipeline Conversion), I wish to thank our local officials, the Economic Development Partnership, The Advocate-Messenger and the many citizens of Boyle County for their support. In spite of our community’s active opposition over the past three years, FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) granted permission several weeks ago to allow Kinder Morgan to abandon Tennessee Gas pipeline #100-1 which carries natural gas through Boyle County.

KM proposes to re-purpose this pipeline to carry NGLs (natural gas liquids), which are extremely hazardous.

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This recent decision does not mean the end of opposition. Boyle County entities and citizens are already analyzing and considering various options. There are already several safeguards in place:

• With the support of all the local governing bodies and all members of the Economic Development Partnership, the Danvile-Boyle County Planning and Zoning Commission passed a text amendment in November 2015, which requires any entity transporting hazardous material through Boyle County to obtain a conditional-use permit from the Board of Adjustments. The entity would have to seek opinions from qualified experts regarding the environmental safety of such a proposal.

• The Kentucky Supreme Court upheld a decision in February 2016 that a private company does not have the right of eminent domain if a landowner refuses to allow an easement for the placement of a pipeline on his/her property.

There are also avenues of action to be considered:

• Request that the Corps of Engineers require an Environmental Impact Statement;

• request that the Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) evaluate the proposal;

• identify landowners along the path of the pipeline and encourage their opposition;

• cooperate with other affected counties in Kentucky and other states to create awareness of the dangers and opposition;

• continue to publicly oppose the plan to re-purpose the pipeline;

• continue to work with the Planning and Zoning Commission to ensure that the text amendment is a strong safeguard; and

• support a soon-to-be filed legal challenge (by entities outside of Boyle County) to FERC’s decision based on its failure to comply with NEPA (National Environment Protection Act).

Our group will continue to monitor the situation and keep the public informed.

Tena Messer