Department of Energy

U.S. Department of Energy

Paducah, Kentucky, is home to USEC, a Department of Energy uranium enrichment facility that operated for 50 years until being decommissioned in 2013. Just across the Ohio River lies the Honeywell corporation’s Metropolis Works, the nation’s only uranium conversion plant.

Former State Sen. Bob Leeper thought it made sense to build on that existing capacity. So he introduced a bill to end the state’s decades-old moratorium on nuclear power. That was ten years ago.

“People weren't sure what they wanted to do with this bill,” Leeper said at a ceremonial signing event for a law named the Leeper Act in his honor. “They did the right thing in my opinion.”

The company that wants to build the Bluegrass Pipeline says it has the right to use eminent domain to take easements against landowners who don’t want to sell.  But, the state’s energy secretary has a different opinion. Len Peters says after reviewing state law, he believes, the Williams Company and Boardwalk Pipeline Partners of Texas would not have the right to take land using eminent domain.

The controversial pipeline project would take a liquid produced in the natural gas refining process across Northern and Central Kentucky en route to the Gulf Coast. 

Opponents of the pipeline have not only objected to potential use of eminent domain, but also over environmental concerns.  Each side spoke to lawmakers Thursday at a meeting of the Joint Committee on Natural Resources and the Environment.