Nelson County family accuses pipeline reps of trespassing

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By Stephen Lega

Frances Strange and her husband, Larry, consider themselves “distraught landowners” who live along the proposed route for the Bluegrass Pipeline.
At least that’s how they described themselves in a letter to the editor sent to the Enterprise.
The Stranges live on Loretto Road in Nelson County, but they aren’t far from the Marion County line.
“We actually have Marion County water,” Frances Strange said.
According to Frances, they have received multiple contacts from representatives of the Bluegrass Pipeline.  On Dec. 7, she said they pipeline officials offered what she called a large amount of money for a right-of-way across their property.
“We told them we weren’t interested,” Frances said.
They were contacted again Jan. 21, and on Jan. 23, they received a visit from the pipeline representative. Each time, the Stranges said they didn’t want to sell them a right-of-way, according to Frances.
Yet, on Feb. 13, they received an overnight package via FedEx with another offer.
“On the 16th of February, we discovered stakes on the back of our property,” Frances said. “We had told them that we didn’t want them on our property.”
Frances said her husband took pictures of the stakes, and they took them to the Nelson County Sheriff’s Office and filed a complaint. She added that they also made a complaint to the state surveyors association.
“We think this pipeline is very dangerous with the NGLs it will be carrying,” she said.
Like other opponents of the pipeline, she has been concerned by statements from pipeline officials, who have said they would consider pursuing eminent domain as a last resort if they can’t acquire the right-of-way agreements needed to build the pipeline.
All of that makes Strange glad to see the progress of House Bill 31 in the state legislature. Frances said they even went to Frankfort for a hearing about the bill, which is aimed at prevent companies from using eminent domain to construct a natural gas liquids pipeline through private property. State Rep. Terry Mills is one of the co-sponsors of  HB 31.
On Feb. 26, the House Judiciary Committee held its first reading of the bill, and on Feb. 27, they approved a second reading.
The judiciary committee did offer a substitute to the original bill, however. The original bill reads that corporations and partnerships involved in constructing, maintaining and operating pipelines to transport oil, gas or oil and gas products in public service could pursue eminent domain, but only after receiving permission from the Public Service Commission.
The committee substitute specified that natural gas liquids were excluded from the definition of oil and gas products.
Since then, an amendment has been proposed to the bill to read that the oil, gas or oil and gas products must be “for public use” to even be considered for eminent domain.