U.S. to take longer to review pipeline slated for Kentucky, four - WDRB 41 Louisville News

U.S. to take longer to review pipeline slated for Kentucky, four other states

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Federal regulators will take longer than expected to finish an environmental review of a hazardous liquids pipeline slated to pass through Kentucky and four other states.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said in a filing Friday that it now plans to publish an “environmental assessment” on November 2. A previous schedule called for the work to be done by September 2.

But the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. has made modifications to the project that “require additional time for staff to consider,” FERC Secretary Kimberly D. Bose wrote in a notice published Friday.

The company, an affiliate of Houston-based Kinder Morgan, wants approval to stop using more than 950 miles of natural gas pipeline from Louisiana to Ohio. If approved, Tennessee Gas would then start shipping natural gas liquids through the pipe in the opposite direction.

The “repurposed” line would stretch across roughly 256 miles and 18 counties in Kentucky. The proposal has met with resistance from some local governments, economic development agencies and landowners along the pipeline route.

In comments to federal regulators, opponents have raised public safety and environmental concerns that include fears that a pipeline rupture could send chemicals into groundwater.

The pipeline route crosses through underground karst terrain in southcentral Kentucky and beneath Herrington Lake, which provides drinking water for Danville and other nearby communities.

Some critics, including Kentucky State Senator Jimmy Higdon, R-Lebanon, want a more thorough review called an “environmental impact statement.” The report now scheduled for November will determine whether the additional work is needed, according to the National Environmental Policy Act.

For their part, Kinder Morgan officials have defended their safety record and the integrity of a line that, in some areas, includes World War II-era pipe.

Once the natural gas is removed, a separate Kinder Morgan company would own and operate the pipeline, which would ship natural gas liquids -- substances like ethane, butane and propane that are used in the automotive, plastics and other industries.

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