Franklin County Fiscal Court opposes natural gas liquids pipeline

FRANKFORT — Citing public safety concerns, the Franklin County Fiscal Court passed a resolution Thursday opposing construction of a pipeline to transport flammable natural gas liquids through Franklin and other Central Kentucky counties.

The fiscal court is the first government body to formally oppose plans for the pipeline, which has drawn criticism from environmentalists and landowners in some Central Kentucky counties.

The pipeline would run 1,100 miles from northeastern Pennsylvania through West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky, where it would connect to an existing line that runs to the Gulf Coast.

The fiscal court approved the resolution 4-1, with magistrate Phillip Kring voting no. Magistrate Lambert Moore abstained, saying he did not have enough information.

"I don't want Franklin County and I don't want the state to be a dumping ground for other people who just want to make a fast buck," said magistrate Jill Robinson, whose district includes most of the 35 parcels of Franklin County land that could become part of the pipeline project.

Officials with Williams Co. and Boardwalk Pipeline Partners, which are behind the pipeline project, have said the exact route has not been finalized; the companies have had or will have public meetings in Woodford, Scott, Franklin, Grant and Hardin counties. The pipeline would cross the southern part of Franklin County and would have go to under the Kentucky River, county officials said Thursday.

Representatives from Williams Co. were invited to the fiscal court meeting but declined to come, Franklin County Judge-Executive Ted Collins said. Instead, he said, they wanted to hold a public meeting at the Paul Sawyier Public Library from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Aug. 7.

Kring said he thought Thursday's vote was premature. Representatives from Williams Co. had attended a July 15 fiscal court meeting, and the court gave the company a list of questions that the company has not yet answered, Kring said. He said that "you are talking about a bunch of jobs," and that if the pipeline is not built, the company could transport the mixed natural gas liquids via rail or tractor-trailers, which could be even more dangerous.

Williams Co. officials have said they routinely inspect their pipelines, have a good safety record and have automatic shutoff valves every 10 miles.

The company has said they would like the pipeline to be operational by 2015. The pipeline requires permits from numerous federal and state regulatory bodies, including the Kentucky Department of Environmental Protection, the Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, the Department of Parks, and the Kentucky Heritage Council, plus their counterparts in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio.

Collins said after Thursday's meeting that the court's resolution will be sent to more than 45 officials and agencies.

Collins also said that Franklin County Attorney Rick Sparks and county attorneys in other areas where the pipeline has been proposed will meet in August to discuss legal avenues available to counties that oppose the pipeline.

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