Pipeline companies spent $189k lobbying Kentucky General Assembl - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Pipeline companies spent $189k lobbying Kentucky General Assembly in 2014

Posted: Updated:

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Companies seeking to build hazardous liquids pipelines in Kentucky spent nearly $189,000 lobbying state lawmakers last year, new reports show.

Boardwalk Pipeline Partners and the Williams Co., which halted work on the Bluegrass Pipeline last spring, paid out $112,116 in legislative expenses during 2014, according to documents filed with the Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission earlier this month.

Kinder Morgan Energy Partners spent $76,800 monitoring energy, environmental and eminent domain issues as it moved forward with its own plans for a pipeline project that still needs federal regulatory approval.

The two pipelines would cross through Kentucky, transporting natural gas liquids from hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” fields in the northeast to the Gulf Coast. The Bluegrass Pipeline involved new and existing line, while the Kinder Morgan proposal would “repurpose” a natural gas pipe already in the ground.

Both have met with resistance from residents concerned that ruptured pipelines could spill harmful chemicals into water supplies, while some lawmakers warned against the possibility of private developers condemning land. The companies have promoted the economic benefits of the projects, from jobs to increased tax revenue.

Boardwalk and Kinder Morgan, which are both headquartered in Houston, already operate in Kentucky. Boardwalk subsidiary Texas Gas Transmission moves natural gas through the western part of the state, while Kinder Morgan runs several shipping terminals, including on the Ohio River in Louisville.

“Both of them have pipe in the ground, and Boardwalk has a significant presence in western Kentucky,” said Tom FitzGerald, executive director of the Kentucky Resources Council, whose lobbying expenses totaled $6,325 on environmental issues, including the Bluegrass Pipeline.

But Boardwalk and Kinder Morgan spent substantially more in 2014 than in prior years. The ethics commission has no records of spending by Kinder Morgan before last year; Boardwalk's expenditures were more than double the amount the company spent in any previous year.

In all, a record $18.4 million was spent currying favor with state legislators last year, according to the ethics commission. Altria Client Services and its affiliated tobacco companies spent the most money -- $323,097 – followed by the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce ($291,158); the Kentucky Hospital Association ($183,919); and AT&T ($169,006).

Boardwalk Pipeline Partners' spending ranked No. 27 overall, and the company and Williams continued to lobby even after stopping its project in the spring. For example, Boardwalk and Williams each listed $202.72 for dinners attended by Kentucky House and Senate members at legislative conferences in Alaska, Arkansas, Minnesota and Texas last summer, according to detailed spending statements obtained under a public records request.

Boardwalk also spent $167.98 at receptions attended by Senate Republicans and General Assembly members and Legislative Research Commission staff in Owensboro and Louisville last November and December, the statements show.

Kinder Morgan's spending ranked No. 39 overall.

Companies are required to file lobbying reports for the first month of the 2015 session of the General Assembly on Feb. 15.

Copyright 2015 WDRB News. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 WDRB. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.