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Public meeting to discuss natural gas that sprayed after lightning strike in Powell County

Sand was brought in to mitigate slippery conditions on Ky. 15 after natural gas was vented from a transmission station in Powell County on Monday.
Sand was brought in to mitigate slippery conditions on Ky. 15 after natural gas was vented from a transmission station in Powell County on Monday. Powell County 911 Dispatch Center

A public meeting has been scheduled to discuss the after-effects of a lightning strike that caused gas to spew from a natural gas transmission facility in Powell County on Monday.

Powell County Judge-Executive James D. Anderson Jr. said he scheduled the meeting in response to complaints about the residue left behind when an emergency shutdown system was activated at the Tennessee Gas Pipeline transmission station.

When lighting struck, safety valves blocked the gas transmission lines, and then the lines had to be vented to release pressure, a Powell County emergency management official said Monday. Anderson said some citizens had complained about natural gas residue left on their property as a result of the venting.

The meeting is scheduled for 5 p.m. Wednesday at the Clay City Municipal Building.

Representatives of Kinder Morgan, the company that owns the transmission station, went door-to-door Tuesday to talk with those who were affected, a company spokeswoman said.

Melissa Ruiz, manager of corporate communications for Kinder Morgan, said the company was visiting residents within a half-mile radius of the plant. While she did not know how many people were involved, she estimated that it was “a dozen or so area residences.”

Ruiz said the company is addressing citizens’ concerns on a case-by-case basis. She said no evacuation of the area was needed.

“We are doing environmental monitoring and property assessments throughout the day,” she said. “The Kentucky Department of Environmental Protection has been overseeing our efforts.”

Ruiz said a shutdown of this kind is uncommon, but the system “performed the way it should.”

She said the transmission station was scheduled to return to operation Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday.

“No customers were impacted,” she said.

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