Health and Welfare
Council of Churches Seeking Pipeline Impact Statement
The proposed construction of a natural gas liquids pipeline through central Kentucky continues to attract the attention of religious groups. A statewide Christian organization is calling for responsible government oversight.
With the Commonwealth evaluating its powers to regulate the proposed Bluegrass Pipeline project, and questions over the use of eminent domain, the Kentucky Council of Churches is calling for a more cautious approach. Executive Director Marian McClure Taylor wants the state to take a closer look at the proposal.
“So we look at the moral dimension of how we treat each other and treat the environment that sustains us from the point of view that God created us and it and we’re meant to live in some kind of harmony and think about the future as well, our children and grandchildren in relation to the environment,” said McClure Taylor.
McClure-Taylor says the Council of Churches is calling for a review of the project’s environmental impacts. She says the Council also seeks the establishment of a state board which would have direct control over the pipeline project.
“Once you have an impact statement, you still don’t have anybody authorized to say yes or no, so we need an authoritative group that could follow up and hold people accountable,” add McClure Taylor.
Under current law, regulators from the state Department for Environmental Protection are not tasked with oversight of the pipeline’s operation. But, if its construction or pathway crosses a waterway, Commissioner Bruce Scott says his agency can intervene.
“We want to ensure that construction, the installation process of putting that pipeline through that stream or across that stream or under that stream is done in a manner that will protect that stream,” said Scott.
Scott adds the federal government has the power to regulate the pipeline in different areas.
Scott admits ongoing oversight is something to consider. For example, if the pipeline leaks, Scott says the state will need to know how it should respond.
“It’s those questions that are being asked that don’t fit well with everybody’s jurisdiction here and that’s frustrating to a lot of folks at this point in time to try to answer those questions and they’re legitimate questions to be asked,” explained Scott.
Scott says officials in his cabinet expect to meet soon with pipeline representatives to discuss these issues. No firm timeline for the pipeline’s construction has been is set. Currently, the company’s working to purchase access to the land needed for the pipeline.