Hazardous Liquids Conversion Project Held Up Over Opposition in Kentucky
Craig Williams, Kentucky Environmental Foundation, 859-302-1103, firstname.lastname@example.org Jim Scheff, Kentucky Heartwood, 859-334-0602, email@example.com
RICHMOND, KY – Pipeline company Kinder Morgan has officially dropped its plans to convert a more than 70 year-old, 2-foot diameter pipeline from natural gas service to transport of hazardous natural gas liquids (NGLs). Natural gas liquids are hydrocarbon byproducts coproduced in fracking operations in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virgina, and pose signficantly greater safety and environmental risks than natural gas.
The Utica Marcellus Texas Pipeline (UMTP) project would have reversed flow direction and converted serivce on the Tennessee Gas Pipeline (TGP), which crosses six states and 18 Kentucky counties. The project drew sharp criticism and vocal opposition from a wide range of Kentucky counties and institutions, including the cities of Danville and Richmond where the existing pipeline passes through dense neighborhoods and over Herrington Lake. Nearly 1,000 comments opposing the project were submitted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). You can read more about that here.
The pipeline conversion project raised significant concerns over gaps in federal and state regulatory authorities, disclosure of risks to the public and local governments, and the rights of communities to determine whether or not hazardous liquids pipelines are compatible with high density residential areas and drinking water resources.
Kentucky citizens, county governments, and environmental groups worked together for more than three and half years to stop the project. A federal lawsuit by organizations Kentucky Heartwood, Kentucky Resources Council, and the Allegheny Defense Project, challenging the September, 2017 approval of the project by FERC, is pending in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. Other organizations involved in effort to block the pipeline conversion project include the Kentucky Environmental Foundation, Danville’s Citizens Opposed to the Pipeline Conversion, and the Kentucky Student Environmental Coalition.
Also on record opposing the project are Boyle, Madison, Clark, Garrard, Marion, and Rowan Counties, the cities of Danvile, Richmond, and Junction City, and Lexington/Fayette County Government. Institutions and economic organzations opposing the project include Eastern Kentucky Universiy, Madison County Schools, Berea College, Blue Grass Area Development District, Danville/Boyle County Economic Development Partnership, and the Richmond Chamber of Commerce.
Kentucky Heartwood was founded in 1992, with a mission to protect and restore the integrity, stability, and beauty of Kentucky’s native forests and biotic communities through research, education, advocacy, and community engagement.