SUN EDITION BULLITT CO PIPELINE drone 2.jpg

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Louisville Gas & Electric Co. said Tuesday it plans to use eminent domain to acquire the final pieces of private land in Bullitt County it needs for a proposed natural gas pipeline.

LG&E announced in a press release that it plans to begin “initiating condemnation proceedings that will exercise the utility’s right to eminent domain and ultimately enable the utility to acquire the necessary easements to begin the pipeline’s construction.”

“Once construction is complete, property owners can drive vehicles over the easement and may continue to use it to do things like grow crops, pasture animals and other activities; so long as the activity does not include construction of buildings or create obstacles that restrict the utility’s access to the infrastructure,” the utility said.

That development was mentioned in the seventh paragraph of a broader press release about Bullitt County’s natural gas capacity.

LG&E expects the 12-mile pipeline will cost $39 million and take six to nine months once construction begins. The utility has acquired at least 85% of the easements it needs.

The pipeline would run between south of Mt. Washington and Interstate 65, south of Shepherdsville and eventually connect to existing distribution and transmission lines.

The project’s opponents, including some neighbors and Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest, have raised concerns about the line’s potential impact. The route passes through land Bernheim has set aside for wildlife conservation.

And residents against the proposal have questioned a process that let LG&E wait until after the state Public Service Commission approved the line to notify people whose land would be affected.

LG&E said in Tuesday’s release that its existing natural gas distribution in Bullitt is approaching full capacity. 

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Marcus Green joined WDRB News in 2013 after 12 years as a staff writer at the Louisville Courier-Journal. He reports on transportation, development and local and state government.