Texas firm gets U.S. approval to halt Bluegrass Pipeline sale
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – A Texas gas company has formally dropped plans to sell hundreds of miles of natural gas lines for the shuttered Bluegrass Pipeline project in Kentucky.
The action, which had been expected since the Bluegrass Pipeline developers halted spending on the project in April, will be finalized in Tuesday’s Federal Register, the journal for notices issued by U.S. government agencies.
Houston-based Texas Gas Transmission sought approval from the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission last year to stop using at least 568 miles of pipeline from southern Louisiana to Hardinsburg, Ky., about 70 miles southwest of Louisville.
Texas Gas would have sold the segments to its parent company and another firm, which planned to retrofit them to carry natural gas liquids. The developers aimed to build new lines underground through Kentucky north of Hardinsburg.
Texas Gas notified the energy commission June 3 that it was withdrawing its application to abandon and sell the pipelines, which the company described in regulatory filings as “underutilized” as a result of new gas supplies to cities such as Memphis, Tenn., Louisville, Indianapolis and Cincinnati.
“Texas Gas is currently considering all options for the capacity that was slated for use in the Bluegrass Pipeline Project, including the filing of a new abandonment application, if necessary,” Michael E. McMahon, Texas Gas’ senior vice president and general counsel, wrote in the June filing with the energy commission.
The repurposed and new sections of the Bluegrass Pipeline would have funneled natural gas liquids – naturally occurring substances that are considered hazardous under federal rules – from natural gas fracturing, or “fracking,” operations in the northeast to factories along the Gulf Coast.
Supporters claimed the pipeline would create jobs and help the U.S. attain energy independence, but opponents raised environmental and property rights concerns in their efforts to block the plan.
The Bluegrass Pipeline is one of two natural gas liquids pipelines envisioned for Kentucky. By mid-2017, Houston-based Kinder Morgan and MarkWest Energy Partners of Denver plan to convert more than 1,000 miles of natural gas pipeline that now runs from western Pennsylvania to Louisiana.
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