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Beshear supports legislation clarifying eminent domain

 In light of last week's natural gas pipeline explosion in Adair County, there has been renewed interest in the Bluegrass Pipeline.

Just to be clear, the gas line that exploded was a natural gas line that belongs to Columbia Gulf Transmissions.

It was not a natural gas liquids line, and neither the Williams Company nor Boardwalk Pipeline Partners are involved with the line that exploded.

That said, the explosion is certainly a reminder of how volatile the substances running through those lines can be.

Opponents of the Bluegrass Pipeline (and proponents of private property rights) will be glad to hear that Gov. Steve Beshear on Wednesday endorsed legislation that would further define eminent domain in Kentucky. (The Courier-Journal reported on Beshear's statement here, http://goo.gl/g2ewKg.)

Specifically, the bills that have been introduced in the General Assembly are written in a way that would effectively prohibit the companies trying to build a natural gas liquids pipeline from invoking eminent domain to complete their project.

Both of our local legislators have sponsored bills related to this issue.

Sen. Jimmy Higdon actually introduced two bills, Senate Bill 14 and Senate Bill 21. SB 21 was meant to replace SB 14, since it adds an emergency clause that would make it retroactive to Oct. 1, 2013.

State Rep. Terry Mills is a co-sponsor of HB 60, which is similar to SB 21.

Mills is also a co-sponsor of HB 31, which would require the Public Service Commission to grant permission before a common carrier to pursue eminent domain.

SB 21 was sent to the Senate judiciary committee on Jan. 13.

HB 60 has been in the House judiciary committed since Jan. 7, but that committee was scheduled to hold a hearing on HB 31 today.

I'm certain that many people on both sides of this issue will be watching what happens.