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The Williams and Boardwalk Pipeline Partners held an open house Thursday at the Pritchard Community Center in Elizabethtown. Our sister paper, the Elizabethtown News-Enterprise reported on the meeting here: http://goo.gl/scJkLf.
I'm working on a story for next week as Marion Countians were present and visible at the open house. Members of the Loretto Community, Marion County Judge/Executive John G. Mattingly and other Marion County citizens attended the meeting. State Senator Jimmy Higdon was also present, primarily to talk to constituents.
When people walked into the room where the open house was set up, they were asked to sign in. The greeting table included a display with plastic products that can be made with natural gas liquids.
The open house included various stations with topics like "Safety", "Construction", "Land" and "Environment." Judge Mattingly and members of the Loretto Community both indicated they would have preferred to have more of a town hall meeting format, where the audience could ask questions about the project. Instead, the people I've spoken with so far felt like they were referred from one station to another instead of getting answers to their questions.
I've attached a few photos from the open house to this blog. I've also posted images, available from bluegrasspipeline.com, that show some of the information that was on display during the open house. (To see bigger views of the images, click on them directly and you should see a larger window that you can use to scroll through the images.)
Coincidentally, I received an email from Tom Droege, a spokesperson for Williams and Boardwalk, about a community grant program. Communities along the proposed route for the Bluegrass Pipeline are eligible to apply for grants up to $25,000 to assist with youth and senior citizens programs, educational programs, and wildlife habitat enrichment efforts.
The company also announced that emergency responders can apply for grants between Oct. 1 and 31 through the bluegrasspipeline.com website.
On Wednesday, pipeline opponents went to Frankfort to present to Governor Steve Beshear a petition requesting that he adds a pair of items regarding eminent domain and regulations for natural gas liquids (the product that would flow through the Bluegrass Pipeline) to a special session this month, according to the Associated Press story published in the Lexington Herald-Leader. See http://goo.gl/tng0MS.
Also according to the Herald-Leader, Beshear does not plan to amend the special session agenda. See http://goo.gl/pVqNMW.
Company officials insist that the pipeline is a safe and effective method for transporting natural gas liquids. Allen Kirkley and James Scheel, who are representatives of Williams and Boardwalk, argued that pipeline opponents are using scare tactics in a guest commentary on kyforward.com. To read their column, go here: http://goo.gl/Wneeem.
Opponents of the pipeline have questioned Williams safety record, and in particular, they have mentioned a leak that occurred in Parachute, Colorado, frequently. According to the 2010 Census date, Parachute has a population of 1,085 people.
KDVR in Denver, Colorado, has reported a hydrocarbon leak in Parachute that led to benzene being detected in the Parachute Creek. A story and video from April can be seen here, http://goo.gl/6iT5Wl.
Williams has created its own website, http://answersforparachute.com/, with its own explanation of the leak and the clean-up effort.