Half the easements acquired to build natural gas liquids pipeline in Kentucky, officials say

gkocher1@herald-leader.comDecember 16, 2013 

LAWRENCEBURG — The company planning to build a natural gas liquids pipeline that would go through Kentucky has secured easements for a little more than half of the 182 miles of new construction, representatives told a crowd Monday night.

All the easements needed for Bracken and Owen counties have been acquired, company representatives said.

"That's a terrific accomplishment given that we just started in October" to acquire them, said Bill Lawson, vice president of corporate development for Williams Co., one of two partners that want to build what's called the Bluegrass Pipeline through Kentucky.

About 3.5 miles of easement have been acquired in Anderson County. That's half of the 7 miles needed to go through that county's western edge.

Williams and Boardwalk Pipeline Partners propose to build an underground pipeline, 24 inches in diameter, to carry natural gas liquids from the Northeast to an existing connection in Kentucky that runs to the Gulf of Mexico.

About 100 people attended Monday night's public meeting at the Anderson County Cooperative Extension Service office.

One resident asked how Bluegrass Pipeline intended to cross the many rivers and streams, including the Kentucky River.

Mike McMahon, an attorney for Boardwalk, said the pipeline would go some 40 to 60 feet under each river and stream by means of a "horizontal directional drill."

Another resident asked whether any zone changes were required for the properties the pipeline would cross.

"We've never encountered a specific zoning change to go through a person's property," McMahon said.

Robert Akin, president of Central Kentucky Building Trades, asked whether local, skilled construction workers would be hired to build the pipeline.

"Our desire is to hire local labor wherever possible," Lawson said.

His answer drew applause.

Construction of the pipeline will mean hiring about 1,500 people, company representatives have said.

But others, like Anderson County resident Bill Spears, said he had heard that the pipeline would lower property values — not only of the land it crosses but neighboring land.

Lawson and McMahon said they were not aware of any such effect on property values. McMahon said he first heard the allegation during an October public meeting in Scott County. "We could find nobody who could support that," he said.

Several residents expressed concern about leaks and cited a year-old incident in Parachute, Colo., in which 36,000 gallons of natural gas liquids spilled from a leak that went undetected for two weeks.

"The spill in Colorado really worries me because it wasn't discovered for some time," Spears said.

Lawson maintained that a pipeline was "the safest way to transport these products." The alternative would be to have 17,000 railcars moving the materials through Kentucky, he said.

Greg Kocher: (859) 231-3305. Twitter: @HLpublicsafety.

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