To add some more detail to our story in print out today about the Bluegrass Pipeline, here’s some more relevant information and angles that we didn’t have room to fit in:
Pipelines are safer?
Tom FitzGerald of Kentucky Resources Council disputes Bluegrass Pipeline’s contention that pipelines are “37 percent safer” than transporting natural gas liquids via truck and rail, saying that while the frequency of accidents may be higher, pipeline accidents allow significantly greater amounts of hazardous material to be released and cause greater damage.
To make his point in hard numbers and data, FitzGerald provided these numbers:
“According to American Association of Railroads (AAR), who reviewed a comprehensive database of transportation accidents maintained by the U.S. Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Administration (PHMSA), between 2002 and 2012, the average railroad oil spill dumped 738 gallons compared with an average pipeline spill of 10,777 gallons per spill. Total gallons spilled from rail cars were 95,256 compared with 19,926,540 spilled by pipelines.”
Republicans, private property and eminent domain
One thing that Republicans notoriously hate is messing with others’ personal property rights (unless we’re talking lady parts, of course). That view has been expressed regarding the Bluegrass Pipeline by Sen. Jimmy Higdon, R-Lebanon, and by Rep. David Floyd, R-Bardstown, in a letter to Gov. Steve Beshear.
But that has pretty much been it, at least publicly. Though the proposed pipeline goes directly through the district of Sen. Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, he declined to speak with LEO Weekly for two days about the need for the eminent domain and regulatory issues to be addressed in the special session. Thayer finally followed up this morning with the greatest non-response response ever:
“To my knowledge, Governor Beshear has no plans to add to the call. Once redistricting is complete, we will begin looking at issues for the 2014 Session.”
Very bold, Sen. Thayer.
Assuming Gov. Beshear doesn’t have a late change of heart and add the issue to the special session, this will be interesting to watch among Republicans in the state legislature. Which do you value more… letting a big company do their thing and create jobs without getting in their way? Or protect the private property of citizens from being confiscated against their will? This dynamic will exist to some degree among conservative Democrats, but Republicans have fully embraced the Tea Party mantra of Obama Tyrannical Oppression of Our Rights, so they’ll likely have the most difficult time fleshing out their position… or just avoiding questions from the press, like Thayer.
There’s been a lot of talk about the potential for environmental devastation to the karst underground aquifers of Central Kentucky with the Bluegrass Pipeline, but as we all know too well, such environmental concerns often get ignored in Kentucky, as we must Keep the Lights On © and be a Friend of Coal©.
But speaking of powerful Kentucky industries, and considering the region that the pipeline is going through, what does the bourbon industry think of this? Hypothetically, a large pipeline accident that cuts through the heart of the bourbon trail could be devastating for the industry. The pipeline also hugs the Peterson farm in Loretto, which is instrumental to the production of Maker’s Mark, providing its grain.
So far the bourbon industry has been quiet about the pipeline, but if the debate flairs up in the General Assembly next January, it might not be surprising to see them weigh in on it.
1) There have been many locals along the pipeline route who claim that Bluegrass Pipeline employees or contractors have come onto their land to survey it without their permission.
2) The pipeline cuts through Nelson County right along Marion County, through the Holy Cross area, New Haven and Howardstown, and adjacent to Raywick, Loretto and St. Francis.
3) Those names might sound familiar to you if you’ve ever read The Cornbread Mafia. If you’ve read it, can you imagine how dangerous it is to be poking around on someone’s property with a GPS device in that area?
Be careful out there, fellas.
Double the Pipeline, Double the Fun
Oh, look what Kinder Morgan and Markwest Utica EMG are up to:
Yes, Kentucky might have two unregulated NGL pipelines running through the state. According to the briefing that was done for investors by the chair of Markwest Energy:
“It absolutes competes with Bluegrass. If you look at the volume projections out of the Utica and the Marcellus, and clearly, there’s a lot of variability in those forecasts, but over the course of the next 5 years, you would expect that if there is a need for transporting the C2+Y grade to the Gulf Coast, there’s probably only enough volume to support one of those 2 projects.”
So there’s only “need” for one NGL pipeline on the market, but Kentucky might have double the risk? Beshear and the General Assembly might want to weight in on this issue…