Kentucky House passes bill prohibiting Bluegrass Pipeline from seizing property
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- There's a new potential clog in the proposed Bluegrass Pipeline.
The Kentucky House today handed opponents of the project a big victory.
After an hour of passionate debate, the House passed a bill designed to protect landowners in the path of the Bluegrass Pipeline.
HB 31 would prevent developers of natural gas liquid pipelines, such as the Bluegrass Pipeline, from using eminent domain to obtain the property they need.
In short, the pipeline companies could not legally force landowners to sell.
"House Bill 31 is about private property rights. I would submit to this body that we, as Kentuckians, consider these rights sacred," said Rep. John Tilley (D-Hopkinsville) as the debate began on the House floor.
The Bluegrass Pipeline would stretch through 13 counties and create hundreds of jobs and tax revenue.
And the bill's opponents fear the measure could be costly.
"It's about us realizing that our lives are dependant on the jobs created by these fuels," said Rep. Jim Gooch (D-Providence).
"We just might as well put a 'Do not Enter' in our state for business because, basically, that's what we're telling this company," argued Rep. Suzanne Miles (R-Owensboro).
But the bill's sponsors insist it will not stop the pipeline from being built.
"It does not inhibit any jobs. The pipeline will proceed. What we're trying to do is protect those private property owners, protect those landowners, from the big multi-state carpetbagging companies that want to come here and condemn their property," said Rep. David Floyd (R-Bardstown).
The measure passed 74-16.
The Bluegrass Pipeline project quickly issued a statement expressing disappointment and urging the Republican Senate to defeat the bill.
But given the bipartisan support in the House, backers are optimistic.
"I would hope, given what a fundamental right this is, what a constitutional and fundamental right and a sacred right this is for Kentuckians, I would hope that it would fly from the Senate," Tilley told WDRB.
What is now of major concern to the bill's supporters is that there are less than 10 days left in this session: not much time for the Senate to act.
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