Saturday, March 22, 2014

Bluegrass Pipeline Loses in KY House; Fight Moves to Senate

This one was about as pure a grassroots victory as you'll see in this day and age.  Landowners and neighbors threatened by the pipeline lobbied their representatives day after day for the past two months, packing hearing rooms, making the case in private meetings, making hundreds of phone calls, spreading the word and never, never giving up.

And now they have to do it all over again for the state senate.

John Cheves at the Herald:

A bill that would prevent the controversial Bluegrass Pipeline from crossing private property against landowners' wishes was approved Friday by the state House by a 75-to-16 vote.

House Bill 31, which proceeds to the Senate, would specify that the owners of pipelines carrying natural gas liquids do not enjoy the same right to condemn land through the use of eminent domain as do the owners of public utilities and oil and natural gas pipelines.

The bill's sponsor, Rep. John Tilley, D-Hopkinsville, said he understood that the Bluegrass Pipeline's backers so far have secured 70 percent of the necessary Kentucky land through easement negotiations without having to invoke eminent domain, and the same is true for the entire Ohio segment of the pipeline, he said.

"House Bill 31 does not stop the Bluegrass Pipeline," said Rep. David Floyd, R-Bardstown, a co-sponsor of the bill. "It will still be built. They would just have to deal with the landowners from an equal position."
Floyd has to say that because the only argument that's going to work in the repug senate is "this bill isn't anti-pipeline, it's pro-private-property-rights."

The facts are:
  • Even assuming that the company is telling the truth about having 70 percent of the easements it needs - and the company has been caught in multiple lies already - that last 30 percent includes the Bluegrass Blockade. In Anderson County and Franklin County, anti-pipeline landowners along the route have formed blockades of continguous property where they have rejected easements.  
  • Without that blockade land, the company must change the route and seek easements from landowners who are now well-informed about the pipeline's dangers and the company's mendacity.
  • Without the power of eminent domain to steal property from blockading landowners, the company is highly unlikely to get any more easements. 
  • Williams Company and Bluegrass Partners are struggling to garner financial support from Wall Street, which is extremely skeptical about the project.
The Bluegrass Pipeline is not going to be built - unless the repug senate kills the eminent domain bill.

Call the legislative message line 1-800-372-7181 to tell the senate leadership and your state senator to support House Bill 31 to protect private property rights in Kentucky.

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