Environment
5:38 am
Thu February 20, 2014

Bluegrass Pipeline Project Delayed a Year

Rep. James Kay, D-Versailles, presents a bill on property owner rights to the House Judiciary Committee as committee chair John Tilley, D-Hopkinsville, looks on.
Rep. James Kay, D-Versailles, presents a bill on property owner rights to the House Judiciary Committee as committee chair John Tilley, D-Hopkinsville, looks on.
Credit Kentucky LRC

One of the companies wanting to build a controversial pipeline to transport natural gas liquids across Kentucky says the project has been delayed up to a year.

In year-end 2013 financial results, Williams Co. President and CEO Alan Armstrong said the in-service target of the Bluegrass Pipeline project was being shifted to mid to late 2016 "to better align with the needs of producers."

The 500-mile pipeline, being built by Williams Co. of Tulsa, OK and Boardwalk Pipeline Partners of Houston, would carry liquids through northern and central Kentucky.

A group of Catholic nuns successfully redirected the route of the pipeline off their land last year and other religious leaders joined them to oppose the project, delivering thousands of signatures to Governor Beshear's office in November.

On Wednesday, Beshear endorsed legislation that would protect landowners from having their land seized for the project. That bill received its first committee hearing in Frankfort Wednesday. It would require private non-utility companies like those responsible for the Bluegrass Pipeline to obtain consent from a landowner before building.

Emotional testimony came from current residents where the pipeline would be installed. They said they've been threatened with land seizure under eminent domain laws. Oil and gas company representatives complained the measure could prevent the pipeline from being installed in those locations.

A vote was postponed Wednesday to allow for further testimony.