Bluegrass Pipeline acquired 40% of land needed for pr - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Bluegrass Pipeline acquired 40% of land needed for project

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Louisville, Ky. (WDRB) -- Opponents are getting vocal over a proposed natural gas liquids pipeline that is expected to run through 13 Kentucky counties.

The Bluegrass Pipeline says it has already acquired 40 percent of the land needed to run the pipeline through Kentucky.

The Pekny family lives about a half mile down stream from where the pipeline is planned to cross the Kentucky River.

Deb Pekny is opposed to the project. She says, "I went from being concerned to worried to scared out of my mind, and now that fear is fueled by anger."

WDRB.com's Marcus Green and Valerie Chinn sat down with Bill Lawson, a representative of the Williams Company. Williams and Boardwalk Pipeline Partners are planning to build an 1123-mile natural gas liquids pipeline from the Northeastern U.S. to the Gulf Coast. The companies are currently acquiring land and negotiating with farmers and land owners.

When asked what happens when landowners don't want to give up their property for the project, Lawson says, "There is always opportunities to move to the right or to the left and we're finding lots of willing land owners to engage in this conversation."

Valerie Chinn asks, "But at what point would eminent domain be used?" Lawson says, "Eminent domain is the course of last resort. We are working with landowners. It's our best interest to work with landowners and to find those that are interested in having us cross their property." For eminent domain, Lawson says the companies will still pay landowners fair market value.

The pipeline buried two to four feet underground will carry 200,000 to 400,000 barrels of natural gas liquids per day.   1500 construction jobs are expected to be created and more will be added later to maintain the pipeline.

Marcus Green asks, "What's the track record for hiring local workers on these projects?" Lawson says, "Well, we are going to be working with local contractors and contractors and will put in preferences to hire local labor."

Green asks, "But what examples can you point to that you can indicate it happened in the past?" Lawson says, "Well, we haven't built a pipeline in this part of the country, but we're constantly training and working with workforces in the local communities."

Signs are still up saying No Eminent Domain and No Proposed Bluegrass Pipeline. Residents bring up environmental and safety concerns.

Bob Pekny says, "We would probably survive if it contaminated the water supply, but if there's an explosion, there is an excellent chance that this entire community on the river would be destroyed."

Lawson says, "It's very very remote... you have a greater chance of being struck by lightning as some of the studies have pointed out than suffering an injury as a result of a pipeline accident."

Williams and Boardwalk says it expects pipeline construction to start late next year with services starting in late 2015.

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