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Pipe Dreams III

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By Rick Arendt
Guest Columnist

Recently, The Kentucky Standard had a full-page color ad extolling the virtues (safe, reliable, American, and an opportunity for Kentucky) of the dream project of Williams and Boardwalk called the “Bluegrass Pipeline LLC”. They did not include the “LLC” in the ad. LLC stands for Limited Liability Corporation. This structure protects the assets of the parent companies (Williams and Boardwalk) from any troublesome lawsuits related to the project.
This set up is probably fine for the construction phase, with sufficient insurance and bond requirements, but when testing and operating the pipeline begins, the risk level changes from limited to very unlimited indeed. It will then be time for Williams and Boardwalk (also not mentioned in the ad) to assume all the risk to personal property and our environment. I doubt they will.
An unfortunate incident with this pipeline could cost billions to clean up. This pipeline will not be safe. First, there is the high pressure required and the explosive and highly flammable nature of the natural gas liquids (NGLs) Please note: This is NOT natural gas. Second, we have the fact that pipeline leaks or accidents are generally much larger and do more damage than truck or train spills. Last, we have the troubling history of pipelines and Williams in particular. Please check out websites regarding pipeline safety listed at the bottom of this article.
They then claim “reliability.” For whom? The purpose of this pipeline is to deliver product to Louisiana for the benefit of the Williams and Boardwalk empire. That’s it! We get nothing but lower property values and high anxiety.
Then they tell us that this project is “American”. In fact in one important way, it will be very un-American. There may be about 7,500 parcels of land involved intimately with this project.
Some folks will volunteer to sell their land rights. Hundreds will not. The Williams/Boardwalk Empire will never get enough voluntary “pipeline partners.”
Here comes the un-American part. They will have to condemn hundreds of land parcels to make their pipe dreams come true.
The use of eminent domain for this project would mean the end of property rights in Kentucky. Your land could be taken by any private company with a big idea. Very un-American in my view.
Williams and Boardwalk are simply private transportation companies, not public utilities, and instead of using trucks, they propose to drive a pipe through our yards, without our permission in many cases. Un-American.
That leaves us with the “opportunity for Kentucky” virtue in the ad. I haven’t found any positive opportunities unless we consider the $13.5 million they say they’ll pay each year in fees and taxes. Divide $13.5 million by 4.4 million citizens, and you get about $3 each to spend on whatever you want. Whopper Jr. anyone?
For more about the opposition to the Bluegrass Pipeline, visit http://www.stopbluegrasspipeline.us/ or http://www.nobluegrasspipeline.com/.