The hotly-debated issue of eminent domain as it relates to the proposed Bluegrass Pipeline project got a lengthy hearing at the State Capitol Wednesday.
The pipeline proposed to travel through a sizable section of central and western Kentucky has been a topic of debate for months. Plans call for the transmission of natural gas liquids through originating in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio through Kentucky on their way to the Gulf Coast. Many property owners along the suggested route have expressed worries the pipeline construction company could use eminent domain to acquire land for the project. Amy Boone’s family owns a farm in Nelson County. “Surveyors and agents have been in our neighborhood in areas where land owners have repeatedly said no and the pestered us on and off since last May. They’ve shifted their route, but they keep coming back and I have no idea at this point whether they want our property or not,” said Boone. The re-worked legislation seeks to prohibit eminent domain action for natural gas liquids specifically. Williams and Boardwalk Pipeline Partners have not attempted any eminent domain action. Environmental lawyer Tom Fitzgerald says the entity has not ruled it out either. Members of the House Judiciary Committee also heard from Andrew McNeil, director of the Kentucky Oil and Gas Association. “We do not view these as hazardous materials. They are not fracking by products. They’re valuable oil and gas commodities which Kentucky’s producers sell and pay severance tax on. Pipelines are essential for their transportation,” said McNeil. The debate regarding the Bluegrass Pipeline Project is also being heard in the courts. Some of the opponents asked the legislative panel to await a court decision. No vote was taken in committee but it will be brought back again before the Judiciary Committee.