KY Court Decision Goes Against Pipelines re Eminent Domain

In December of 2013, a group of people opposed to the Bluegrass natural gas liquids (NGL) pipeline in Kentucky called KURE (Kentuckians United to Restrain Eminent Domain) sued the Bluegrass, a joint venture of Williams and Boardwalk Pipeline Partners, to prevent them from using eminent domain (see Bluegrass NGL Pipeline’s Eminent Domain Challenged in KY Court). The argument was that the NGLs flowing through the pipeline just pass through Kentucky and don’t benefit local Kentuckians, therefore the pipeline has no right to use the state’s eminent domain law to force landowners to accept the pipeline. That is, it’s not a permitted utility under the definition of the law. In March 2014, a circuit court judge agreed with KURE and told Bluegrass they could not use eminent domain (see Judge Rules Bluegrass Pipeline Cannot Use Eminent Domain in KY). That takes a pretty big stick away from the Bluegrass in their fight to lay the pipeline. Not long after the judge’s decision Williams gave up on the project, although Boardwalk didn’t (see Williams Stops Work on Bluegrass Pipeline, Boardwalk Says “It’s Not Dead”). The circuit court judge’s decision was appealed, and last week the Kentucky Court of Appeals upheld the previous no-eminent domain decision. This new decision has implications for the Bluegrass to be sure, but it has even more implications for an active project now under way by Kinder Morgan…

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