Kinder Morgan not ready to begin ‘implementation plan’ for pipeline change

Published 8:24 am Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Energy giant Kinder Morgan has formally accepted a certificate from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that would allow “abandonment” and repurposing of a natural gas pipeline that runs through Boyle County. But the Houston-based company isn’t moving forward with an “implementation plan” for reusing the pipeline yet, according to a filing it made with FERC on Oct. 30.

Kinder Morgan has said it wants to stop using the Tennessee Gas Pipeline No. 1 for natural gas and reverse the flow, using it instead to transport “natural gas liquids” — byproducts of fracking in the northeast shale fields — to the gulf coast. The pipeline runs 964 miles, a small piece of which comes through Boyle County, crossing underneath Hustonville Road, Hogsett Elementary School and Gose Pike, and over Lake Herrington, among other locations.

Kinder Morgan’s filing with FERC, made by its subsidiary Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, notes federal regulations require it to accept FERC’s recent order approving the plan to “abandon” the pipeline. Abandonment is a technical term in this case, meaning Kinder Morgan would be allowed to stop using the pipeline for natural gas and FERC would no longer regulate what flows through it.

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However, Kinder Morgan’s filing continues:

“Due to the length of time that has passed since Tennessee (Gas Pipeline Company) filed its application and uncertainty in current market conditions, Tennessee is working to confirm the degree of market interest in the project. As a result, Tennessee is not in a position to prepare and file its implementation plan at this time. Tennessee will provide an update on this front in the coming months. Tennessee does reserve the right to request limited clarification of certain ordering conditions at a later date; however, any such request will not preclude Tennessee’s acceptance of the order.”

Residents of Boyle County have been among the most vocal opponents of Kinder Morgan’s proposal in the nation. Many local opponents participate in the group Citizens Opposed to Pipeline Conversion. They argue that natural gas liquids are heavier, more explosive and more toxic than natural gas, and that the natural gas pipeline was not designed to handle natural gas liquids. A leak in the Danville area or into Herrington Lake could have devastating consequences for the local environment, economy and quality of life, they have argued.


A 30-page request and motion has also been filed with FERC by the Allegheny Defense Project, asking for a stay of the order approving abandonment and a rehearing of the case. Read tomorrow’s Advocate-Messenger for a story about that filing.