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The proposal by the Williams Company to build a Bluegrass Pipeline -- to transport natural gas liquids from the northeastern U.S. to the Gulf Coast -- has been the subject of two recent WDRB guest editorials.
In the first, a Williams official said the pipeline would create jobs, increase tax revenue and wouldn't pose any hazards. An opponent of the plan then countered that Williams understates the safety risk while overstating the tax benefit, and that any jobs created would only be temporary.
What neither piece discussed however, was the implied threat by Williams to use the power of eminent domain to lay their pipeline across land owned by people who refuse to deal with the company. And that should be the biggest issue in this fight.
The use of eminent domain by non-government entities should be allowed sparingly at most, and only when the project in question serves a true public service. But it appears to me that the lion's share of the benefits of the Bluegrass Pipeline would be enjoyed by its owners rather than Kentucky citizens.
Although Williams representatives insist they'd only use eminent domain as a "last resort," they shouldn't have that option at all. I'm not opposed to the Pipeline per se, but if they can't do it without trampling the rights of the people in its path, maybe it isn't worth doing.