Monday, December 30, 2013

Boardwalk Pipeline Partners Stock Rating Lowered by Zacks


Boardwalk Pipeline Partners (NYSE:BWP) was downgraded by Zacks from a “neutral” rating to an “underperform” rating in a research report issued on Monday, Stock Ratings News reports. They currently have a $24.70 price objective on the stock. Zacks‘ price objective points to a potential downside of 4.93% from the stock’s previous close.  Read more....

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Ruling Stokes Oil & Gas Industry Uncertainty

To this we say, "It's about time!"  The Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision to overturn a foundational provision of the state’s most comprehensive oil and gas legislation has put a rather large question mark over just how the new regulatory framework could hinder future Marcellus Shale development, leaving the industry scrambling for answers.  The decision brings a measure of sanity to the previously unrestrained invasion by the fracking industry against homeowners. 

Predictably,  some politicians are disappointed by the ruling, saying it destroys job opportunities.  We wonder why politicians favor fracking over investing in green energy alternatives, which would also spur job creation.  Read more.


Monday, December 23, 2013

Still Believe Beshear Hasn't Decided Whether or not the Pipeline is Good for Kentucky?

Signaling concern that sweeping federal regulations could cripple companies using hydraulic fracturing to extract oil and gas from shale in their states, governors from 12 energy states signed an open letter to energy regulators and policymakers in D.C. last week, urging them to “leave regulation in the capable hands of the states.”  Guess who is right in the middle of them?  I, for one, would love to see our governor's investment portfolio exposed.  Read more.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

A Message to Pipeline Supporting Unions in Kentucky

I was surprised to learn that a number of people saying they are from construction workers' unions in Kentucky have been showing up at public meetings to support the proposed Bluegrass hazardous liquids pipeline.  (For the sake of argument, I am going to assume they are actual union members and not paid plants sent to sway government officials' opinions.)

I understand unions.  My father was a steel worker and a strong union member for all of his working life, as were many people in my family.  My husband is a union member.  I know what it is like to struggle and fight and worry about where your next meal is coming from while the union is your only hope.  Unions exist to support workers' rights, lobby for better compensation, working conditions, benefits, safety, and other issues.  Yes, lobbying for jobs is important too.  I respect unions for what they do for working people.

That said, it is important for EVERY union member to recognize that they do what they do for their own personal benefit, the benefit of their families, and even the communities where they live by extension.  After all, many unions are powerful because of the mutual support they receive from their extended families and communities who support their efforts.  I personally, will never cross a picket line.  As a teenager, when the cashiers at an area racetrack went on strike, I turned my car around and left rather than supporting the track.  A few months ago, when employees of a major retailer went on strike, I contributed to their cause, promoted their petitions, and stopped shopping there.  Now many Kentuckians have formed a picket line of sorts against the pipeline.  We are officially on strike.  Why?

Because we believe that no private company should be able to run rough-shod over home and land owners, claiming they have eminent domain, using this to coerce them into signing away their land rights.  Eminent domain should only be used by the government for a public purpose when there is a clear need and benefit to the public.  Even then, it should be thoroughly studied, the public should have input in the decision, and it should be a last resort and rarely used. Period.

This is a concept that every real union member should understand and support.  We are striking to protect our home and land values and usage rights.  We are turning down the money because we know that it is in our interest and the entire state's interest that our land and water be protected.  We're doing this for our families and yours.  We're doing it for farmers, the bourbon industry, and the millions of people down river whose water sources must be protected.

Some of the union workers at meetings appear to believe that the pipeline will bring jobs to Kentucky.  However, you need to fully understand that:
  • Any jobs will be temporary only.
  • There has been no binding commitment that Kentuckians will be hired for these positions.  Jobs will most likely be contracted out to the lowest bidders, which may or not be Kentucky companies.  That's just the way business works.  Do you think it is more likely that the Williams Company - - which exists to build pipelines - - already has arrangements with the construction companies it plans to use? After all, how many Kentucky companies have the existing equipment and workers experienced in the construction of this type of pipeline?
  • If you Kentucky union members don't already have an iron-clad, fully executed contract in hand promising you these jobs you may be wasting your time and hurting your support network.  Are you being used as political props?
  • Once the pipeline is in the ground and operational, there will be a LOSS of jobs in the trucking and rail industries.  There will be a missed opportunity for the creation of substantial numbers of jobs in trucking and rail.  Aren't the truckers and railway workers your union brothers and sisters as well?

By supporting the pipeline, union members are crossing our picket lines.  On behalf of all of us, and there are thousands of us, I am asking you to reconsider your stance.  Please do not cross our picket line because we have supported you in the past and will continue to support you in the future if you respect our line.  We know you wouldn't want to be labeled with that ugly "s" word reserved especially for those who cross the picket line.

Faith confronts the threat of pipeline eminent domain

Whatever Steve Beshear's for inaction, the governor has a responsibility and a duty to protect the rights of Kentucky’s citizens. He should follow the lead of State Sen. Jimmy Higdon and State Rep. David Floyd, who have pre-filed legislation to prevent the use of eminent domain for the proposed Bluegrass Pipeline. “If you’re a pipeline and you don’t have an oversight by the Public Service Commission, then you don’t qualify for eminent domain. You can’t have it both ways,” said Higdon.  Read more.

Monday, December 16, 2013

A Disturbing Trend: Vilifying the Victims of Fracking; Defenders of Vital Water Resources

It seems that every day, I read an article in a high profile publication, hear a story on the news, or find an article on the web in support of pipelines and fracking that goes too far.  While I support their right to share actual facts and information, they go too far when they attempt to vilify the opposition.  This is dangerous for two reasons:
 
1.  It distracts attention from the real issues, which are public safety, protection of vital water resources, environmental impact such as earthquakes, emissions, and home and land owner rights.  

2.  It is a dangerous misinformation tactic used to sway public opinion against citizens who are standing up for everyone's Constitutional rights.

Most recently, pipeline and fracking supporters have referred to the opposition as ignorant and stupid because we disagree with them.  They say we're extremists because we share information with others about the numerous leaks, explosions, and violations associated with pipelines and fracking.  They say we are unpatriotic because we are not supporting their corporate agendas.  Possibly the most disturbing article I read concerned a first-responder training exercise in Ohio where the agencies involved were responding to extremist terrorists against fracking.

The emergency management agency has issued an apology.  Not only is it too little too late, it is irresponsible and smacks of inappropriate corporate influence over a government agency.  The public deserves to know that many opposed to fracking and pipelines:

1.  Are, in fact, first responders who are concerned about their own safety in the event of responding to a leak or explosion.  They are also concerned about the safety of their family, friends, and neighbors in such events;

2.  Are community members and families of first responders who worry about their courageous loved ones who place their lives on the line to protect others;

3.  Are young families with children who worry about the impact of fumes and water contamination.

4.  Are farmers whose families have worked and cared for their land for generations who worry about the impact of soil compaction, damage to draining tiles, contamination of water and soil, and the fact that they will be competing against powerful, well-funded companies for valuable water supplies to feed their livestock and water their crops;

5.  Are veterans who have fought for this country and are sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States;

6.  Are environmentalists who understand that clean water, soil, and air vital for human life;

7.  Are scientists who understand the data that shows fracking damage is irreversible and that safer, responsible alternatives exist;

8.  Are senior citizens worried about the legacy they want to leave to their children;

9.  Are religious persons who see protecting the land as a mandate of their faith; 

10.  Are law-abiding, tax-paying, voting citizens; and

11.  Are your family members, friends, neighbors, and members of your communities and states who believe in the American Dream.

12.  Are just people seeking answers.  

We want to know why the mainstream media allows this vilification to continue.  Why are the journalists not keeping the focus on the issues and facts rather than allowing the bullying to continue?  What happened to investigative journalism?

Those who would label us terrorists are deliberately misleading the public and engaging in behavior that looks a whole lot like military psychological operations.  

According to Wikipedia, such tactics are used on people to gain sympathy for the a particular initiative.  The site defines psychological operations as "planned operations to convey selected information and indicators to audiences to influence their emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of governments, organizations, groups, and individuals."   

I cannot emphasize more strongly that we are not terrorists.  The Merriam Webster website defines terrorism as the "systematic use of violence to create a general climate of fear in a population and thereby to bring about a particular political objective...Terror also has been employed by governments against their own people to suppress dissent."

We are not the ones contaminating water and soil, attempting to abuse eminent domain laws for corporate interests, denying science, violating safety regulations, engaging in activities that cause explosions and leaks of toxic materials, death, and injury, or using power and money to influence the government.  

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Fundraiser and Silent Auction Today!


Ready to Join Us? Learn How to Help

If you've been following our website and wondering how you can help or become more involved, there are several ways you can help:

1.  Join Kentuckians United for the Restriction of Eminent Domain - KURE.  This organization was recently filed suit in Franklin County to get a ruling on the eminent domain issue.  Membership is open and free.

2.  Send us your comments via the comment box at the right hand side of every page on this website.

3.  Educate others on the realities of this proposed pipeline.  The most important things to share are:
  • This is NOT natural gas and will NOT provide services to anyone in Kentucky.
  • The hazardous liquids that would be transported are toxic and highly explosive.
  • Leaks will contaminate water supplies and could release colorless, odorless gas.
  • The company does NOT have the right of eminent domain.
  • This pipeline would PREVENT the creation of hundreds of new, long-term jobs in the trucking and rail industries.  It will only create a small number of temporary construction jobs that may or may not go to Kentuckians.
  • If this company should somehow gain the right of eminent domain, a precedent will be set for any private company to take away anyone's property rights.  We cannot allow this to happen.
  • Property values will plummet.
4.  If you would like to contribute to support our cause, please feel free to donate to the Kentucky Resources Council.  There is a link at the top, right-hand side of pages on this website that you can use to reach the KRC website.  KRC, and a group of dedicated attorneys, are providing representation for the KURE lawsuit at no cost to KURE.  If we achieve our goal of preventing non-utilities from using eminent domain, every Kentuckian who owns a home or farm (or ever hopes to own a home or farm) will benefit.

5.  Contact your legislators and let them know where you stand on this issue.  Let them know that your rights as a citizen are not to be given away to private companies.

Bravo! Shares of Boardwalk Pipeline Partners Fall to a New 52-Week Low & Other News

"Do you hear that sound?  Listen closely to that skittering about.  It sounds just like rodents scurrying away......" - A comment possibly overheard on the Titanic.

Boardwalk Pipeline Partners (NYSE:BWP) traded at a new 52-week low today of $24.07. Approximately 229,000 shares have changed hands today, as compared to an average 30-day volume of 677,000 shares.  Read more...

 The Bluegrass hazardous liquids pipeline has also extended its "open season" supposedly because of requests by "interested shippers who would like additional time to evaluate the pipeline project and the project's market outlet options." While it is possible this is true, one wonders if the real reason might be to allow the BG folks more time to try to drum up customers who might be doubtful the project will be completed.

We hear from Nelson County that the pipeline representatives have stopped publicly listing prices paid for easements to "protect land owners' privacy."  It seems more likely that this practice benefits the company because landowners are kept in the dark about what others are receiving.  This would explain the large disparity we are seeing in payments across the route.  Further, we question whether this is legal.  

Our sources in New York indicate that many people there are NOT being paid, despite having signed easement agreements.  So, for those of you who are agreeing to these so called "signing bonuses" and off the record exchanges of cash, if you didn't get the cash before you signed, you may not get the money.

Interesting consensus claim from a recent NGL forum in San Antonio:
".....Williams Cos. Inc. and Boardwalk Pipeline Partners LP proposed the 200-Mbbl/d Bluegrass pipeline running from the Marcellus and Utica plays to the Gulf Coast, while a competing proposal from Kinder Morgan was made for a pipeline of the same size. Both lines would likely transport propane and some butanes to the Gulf Coast, as ethane economics would not justify additional shipments.


....The consensus at the forum was that only one of the two pipelines would likely be built...."

Meanwhile, in other news, the Williams Company whose chemical plant in Geismar was the site of an explosion in June that killed two people has been fined $99,000. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced Wednesday it cited William Olefins for six safety violations, including one “willful violation.”   The company's representatives have repeatedly stated that "safety is a top priority" in their public appearances and in their slick mailers.  Actions do speak much louder than words.  If the company's history is a reflection of its culture, then little appears to have changed in recent years.

It is encouraging to see a small measure of justice in this case, but $99,000.00 is small change for this multi-billion dollar company.  One can only hope that OSHA's findings will bolster damages awarded to  families of those killed and injured in the Geismar explosion.  Money can never replace their loved ones or restore quality of life to those injured, but hopefully it can discourage future "willful violations" by the company in the future.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Bluegrass Region Recognized by World Monuments Fund

What, exactly is at stake in the Bluegrass hazardous liquids pipeline's short-sighted proposal?  The Bluegrass region is unique in its geographic features, geology, and commitment to agriculture and has been recognized by the New York based World Monuments Fund.

Covering an area of some 3,000 square kilometers, the Bluegrass Region is one of America’s most distinctive landscapes. Named for the color of its calcium- and phosphate-enriched grass, the region was settled by Europeans in the 1780s. By the mid-nineteenth century, agrarian-based industries such as tobacco farming and bourbon distillation sprang up there, along with breeding and racing of prized horses.  Read more.

Williams Olefins fined $99,000 by OSHA for Geismar plant explosion

December 12, 2013 - The Williams Company whose chemical plant in Geismar was the site of an explosion in June that killed two people has been fined $99,000.  The Williams Company is also a partner in building the proposed Bluegrass hazardous liquids pipeline.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced Wednesday it cited William Olefins for six safety violations, including one “willful violation.”

OSHA’s Baton Rouge Director Dorinda Folse said the company failed in its responsibility to “find and fix” safety violations and ensure the safety of its workers. “Failure to do so cost two workers their lives,” she said.

Killed in the explosion were 29-year-old Zachary C. Green of Hammond and 47-year-old Scott Thrower of St. Amant. Another 114 people were injured, though the OSHA press release says the number was 80. 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Deadly Repurposing - Bluegrass, Atex, and other Hazardous Liquids Pipelines

This must-read article, "Legacy pipelines, what to do about aging and abandoned energy infrastructure," from the American Planning Association's magazine "Planning," tells how injuries, deaths and property damage from aging oil and gas infrastructure have increased dramatically in recent years. It also talks about how state, regional and local planners can implement measures to minimize the risks that oil and gas pipelines potentially pose to communities.
Excerpt:

"....According to PHMSA (U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration), 2.4 million barrels — equal to 100.8 million gallons — of hazardous materials spilled from a combination of oil and gas pipelines between 1993 and 2012. The result: 367 fatalities, 1,465 injuries, and $6.4 billion in property damage throughout the U.S. Environmental damage can include ecologically sensitive areas, waterways, drinking water sources, endangered species, and air quality...." 

This shale-gas boom we are witnessing is giving rise to the practice of "repurposing" existing natural gas pipelines to carry hazardous liquids from the Marcellus and Utica shale plays in Pennsylvania, WV and Ohio to the Gulf of Mexico.  In fact, I am aware of 3 projects on the drawing board right now that would go through Kentucky, including the Bluegrass Pipeline.  Many of these repurposed lines were commissioned in the 1950's.

The ATEX Express Pipeline, which skirts around Kentucky, is being filled with hazardous liquids as we speak -- it involved both new pipeline construction and the repurposing of existing lines.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Safety history of Bluegrass Pipeline companies at issue in Kentucky debate

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Critics of the contentious Bluegrass Pipeline point to the safety record of the project's developers, claiming a history of leaks, spills and even explosions at their facilities raise concerns about plans to route a natural gas liquids pipeline through Kentucky.  Read more.

Kentuckian Mary Drake Debunks Bluegrass (Hazardous Liquids) Pipeline Propaganda

In a recent Point of View aired on WDRB, Bill Lawson of the Williams company spoke in favor of the Bluegrass hazardous liquids pipeline, mentioning that Kentucky already has 12,000 miles of pipeline. He fails to mention that only 38 miles carry the hazardous liquids that the Williams company wants to move through Kentucky. A 2004 explosion in this 38-mile pipeline in Floyd County resulted in five homes being destroyed, 30 people being injured and evacuation within a mile radius because of a malfunctioning valve and corrosion in the four-inch pipeline. The Bluegrass Pipeline would be 24 inches wide.  Watch her fact filled commentary on WDRB's website.

Eminent Domain Use for Hazardous Liquids Pipeline Challenged

FRANKFORT, KY -  The claim by developers of a proposed hazardous liquids pipeline that they have the power of eminent domain was challenged Thursday, December 5, 2013 in Franklin County Circuit Court.

The action was taken by Kentuckians United to Restrain Eminent Domain (KURE), a new nonprofit organization formed “to protect Kentuckians from the threat of and attempts to exercise eminent domain by entities not in public service to Kentuckians.”

“The purpose of the lawsuit is to clarify as to whether a private company has the right to condemn land, to force someone to sell them an easement if they don’t want to,” said Penny Greathouse, a Franklin County landowner and founding KURE board member.

"Kentucky families' and farmers' homes and land represent the most important investment in their lives and are the legacy we want to leave to our children,” said Corlia Logsdon, a Woodford County landowner who also has been approached by pipeline developers. “Citizens deserve protection from the threat of condemnation from private companies that are not in service to Kentuckians."

Although pipeline developers have not yet tried to condemn any property, landowners say their claim that they have the power under Kentucky law puts unwarranted pressure on them to sell easements.

“I don’t want to be put in a position where I have to make a decision because I’m afraid they are going to take my land,” explained Greathouse, who has a 700-acre cattle farm. “I want to be able to deal with them without that hanging over my head.

“They first called us in April and they said it was a natural gas pipeline. When we found out about the natural gas liquids, we rescinded permission to survey,” Greathouse added. “They still have come back and talked to us four or five times.

“They guy who talked to me said they did have eminent domain. All the public meetings we’ve been to that Bluegrass Pipeline has been involved with, they definitely said they have eminent domain power,” she continued. “We went door to door to talk to our neighbors, and people said they believe the company has eminent domain and can come anyway. It’s almost like a bullying tactic.”

Several lawyers familiar with eminent domain laws in Kentucky, including Attorney General Jack Conway, believe the proposed pipeline project does not qualify for eminent domain authority under Kentucky law. But there has been no definitive ruling by Kentucky courts to clarify state statutes.

The lawsuit asks the court to make such a ruling.

Specifically, the plaintiffs ask the court to, “Determine and declare that Bluegrass Pipeline LLC does not possess any power or authority under the laws of the Commonwealth of Kentucky to utilize eminent domain in support of the proposed Bluegrass NGL Pipeline project …”

“Declaratory relief is appropriate in this case … since the requested declaration of rights will terminate the uncertainty and controversy that exists in this situation,” the lawsuit states. “[A] declaration of rights would afford ‘relief from uncertainty and insecurity with respect to rights, duties and relations’ as between KURE and its members, and Bluegrass Pipeline Company LLC.”

“Many Kentuckians report they are being misled and feel threatened. Some have sold easements at less than what they are worth because of this,” said Logsdon, also a founding KURE board member. “Kentuckians need and deserve protection now because we are facing threats now."

KURE argues that the hazardous liquids pipeline does not qualify for eminent domain because it “is not a public utility regulated by the Kentucky Public Service Commission pursuant to KRS Chapter 278, and thus is not ‘in public service,’” as required in state law.

Additionally, the project would not meet the “public use” and “public consumption” requirements defined in state law.

“The Bluegrass Pipeline project will not be receiving, transporting, or delivering oil or natural gas ‘for public consumption’ as that term is used in the statute, since the transportation of the natural gas liquids is for a limited customer base to which the natural gas liquids will be delivered or sold after being processed by the joint venture in Louisiana, and because the unfractionated natural gas liquids would be transported through the Commonwealth and are not intended to serve or be used by Kentucky consumers,” according to the court filing.

“There is no source of authority under Kentucky law granting eminent domain authority to the Bluegrass Pipeline Company LLC for the proposed Bluegrass NGL Pipeline project.”

KURE is represented by Tom FitzGerald with the Kentucky Resources Council.

######

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Check Out WDRB's Investigation on the Bluegrass Pipeline

Louisville area readers won't want to miss WDRB's investigation on the proposed Bluegrass hazardous liquids pipeline this Wednesday.  Hopefully, they will also post it on their website for the rest of us.  If so, we'll let you know.


Martin Sheen Exposé on Fracking to Air on Public TV

This week, Martin Sheen’s Breakthroughs program released an expose on fracking featuring Environment America to public television stations across the country. As the debate over dirty drilling continues to mount, the Breakthroughs piece could reach as many as 60 million viewers in all 50 states.  Read about it here.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Obama Approves Major Border-Crossing Fracked Gas Pipeline Used to Dilute Tar Sands

Although TransCanada's Keystone XL tar sands pipeline has received the lion's share of media attention, another key border-crossing pipeline benefitting tar sands producers was approved on November 19 by the U.S. State Department.

Enter Cochin, Kinder Morgan's 1,900-mile proposed pipeline to transport gas produced via the controversial hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") of the Eagle Ford Shale basin in Texas north through Kankakee, Illinois, and eventually into Alberta, Canada, the home of the tar sands.  Read more.

Larue County Landowners Selling Out for $10.00 Per Foot?

We've learned through public records that Larue County landowners are selling out for Bluegrass hazardous liquids pipeline easements at $10.00 per linear foot.  Inquiring minds want to know what kinds of off-the-records "bonuses" are being paid to the landowners and politicians.

Hardin County Sells Out for the Price of a Used Car

Hardin County officials have never been receptive to our efforts to provide them with information on the Bluegrass hazardous liquids pipeline, so it is not surprising that they've sold out.  The Hardin Fiscal Court has granted easement access to public property.  The company will cross 151 feet of the publicly owned Taylors Bend Park. The payment for the easement is about the cost of a used car - $8,070.  Ironically, the county also approved $1,000,000.00 in debt obligations to purchase five new ambulances.  Some quick, basic math shows this doesn't make financial sense.  Okay, maybe they really needed the ambulances...but the timing is interesting, isn't it? Take a look at the location of Taylors Bend Park:


Taylors Bend is very near the heart of Elizabethtown between I-65 and the Bluegrass Parkway.  The area is densely populated, and both roadways are major traffic corridors.  Read the article.

Tilting at Gas Wells: What's the Best Way to Defend Your Community From Fracking?

What kind of community fracking bans make sense?  Federal and state governments largely have embraced the oil-and-gas boom sparked by hydraulic fracturing. Fracking is a key part of Obama's "all of the above" energy strategy. States such as Texas have long touted its economic benefits, while the candidates for governor in Pennsylvania have moved the debate past the question of whether to frack to the question of how to make the most money from it.  Read more...

Happy Thanksgiving - Don't Stomach Pipelines for Export

Here's a little video I hope you will enjoy for Thanksgiving.  While it is about the Keystone Pipeline and not the Bluegrass hazardous liquids pipeline, the message is the same.  Ultimately, these pipelines pose a great deal of long-term risk with questionable benefits.


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Few Pipeline Spills Detected by "State of the Art" Sensors



Few Oil Pipeline Spills Detected by Much-Touted Sensors

Oil Pipeline Spills Go Undetected by Much-Touted Sensors
Oil seeps through a boom on the Kentucky River after an oil spill in 2005. Between 2002 and July 2012, remote sensors detected only 5 percent of the nation's pipeline spills. Photograph by Mike Simons/Getty Images
InsideClimateNews.org -- For years, TransCanada, the Canadian company that wants to build the Keystone XL pipeline, has assured the project's opponents that the line will be equipped with sensors that can quickly detect oil spills.
In recent newspaper ads in Nebraska, for instance, TransCanada promised that the pipeline will be "monitored through a state-of-the-art oil control center 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. 21,000 sensors along the pipeline route relay information via satellite to the control center every five seconds."
Other companies make similar claims about their remote sensing technology, sometimes promising they can detect and isolate large spills within minutes.
But an InsideClimate News examination of 10 years of federal data shows that leak detection systems do not provide as much protection as the public has been led to believe.  Read More....

US Pipeline Conversions, Gas Flow Reversals Raise Safety Concerns

The proposed Bluegrass hazardous liquids pipeline was discussed at the recent Pipeline Safety Trust Conference in New Orleans.  Pipeline safety experts are concerned about safety of "re-purposing" old, obsolete pipelines that were not made to accommodate the high-pressure, high-volume hazardous liquids. Richard Kuprewicz, president of pipeline safety consultant Accufacts comments on the problem.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Just in...If You've Signed an Easement Agreement (Or if You Are Considering It) Read On

Preliminary reports from land owners indicate that there are substantial differences in amounts being offered by the Bluegrass hazardous liquids pipeline for easements.  Landowners have reported to us that some have been offered figures as low as $20.00 per linear foot.  Other landowners have been offered as much as $100.00 per linear foot. Further, landowners at the high end of this range have reported that when they showed continued reluctance to accept $100 per linear foot, representatives indicated there was still an opportunity to negotiate for a higher rate.  Specifically, according to reports, it appears that amounts offered in Anderson County have been lower than elsewhere.

Also worthy to note...some landowners have reported that representatives told them that a second pipeline is being planned to lie parallel to the currently proposed pipeline.  The future pipeline would be built in five years.  It would also require an additional easement of at least 25 feet.

Thunderstruck...Or Bob Does the Math...Again

By Bob Pekny                                                                                                   11/20/2013

My wife (Deb) and I were recently interviewed by Fox 41, WDRB.   It was very nicely edited and aired on Friday, 11/15/2013.

On Tuesday, 11/19/2013, Bill Lawson, a representative of the Williams Company was interviewed as what I guess was a rebuttal. He tried to downplay our fear of how dangerous a pipeline explosion would be by saying that some studies have shown that being struck by lightning was more likely. Well, being struck by lightning is nothing to take lightly (pun intended). We spent a large part of our lives as boaters, and can tell you that if you are out of sight of land on a small sailboat in a wild thunderstorm, you don’t ignore lightning.

Anyway, I decided to look at how pipeline safety compares to being struck by lightning. Based on NOAA statistics, over the last 20 years, an average of 51 people per year are killed by lightning.

According to an interesting report, “ America’s Dangerous Pipelines,” there have been 512 deaths due to pipeline incidents since 1986; this is an average of 19 deaths per year.

So, is Mr. Lawson’s comment that compares the dangers of a pipeline explosion to being struck by lightning accurate? Let’s look at the numbers a little more closely.

Current Population of the United States:  315,000,000 NOAA reports 51 fatalities per year due to lightning strikes.

315,000,000 divided by 51 is 1 fatality per 6,176,470 people per year.

It is important to realize that everyone in the U.S. is exposed to thunderstorms, certainly some more than others. Even Colorado got hammered by monster storms just recently. But NOT everyone is exposed to the potential of pipeline explosions. The population exposed to pipeline explosions is a much smaller one.

Pipeline explosions probably don’t cause fatalities for those living more than  ½  mile from the pipeline. I tried to come up with a rough estimate of how many people live within ½ mile of a major pipeline. I can’t find any hard data, but it appears to be less than 5% of the population. As a starting point for this analysis lets use 5%.

5% of 315,000,000  is 15,750,000  people living within ½ mile of a major pipeline.  15,750,000  divided by 19 fatalities per year is 1 fatality per 828,947 people.

What we have to compare is two different populations:  the entire population of the U.S. for lightning fatalities and the much smaller population of those of us who live (or will live) close to pipelines and the potential of pipeline related fatalities.

Simple division:  6,176,470 divided by 828,947  is 7.45

FOR THOSE LIVING CLOSE TO A PIPELINE, IT IS 7 1/2 TIMES MORE DEADLY THAN LIGHTNING!

 Imagine the stress of being caught out in an open field with a nasty thunderstorm bearing down on you, lightning crashing all around you….. Now imagine that stress multiplied 7 1/2 times and continuing 24/7 for the rest of your life. That is what it will be like for those living close to this pipeline.

Pipelines ARE dangerous. There are hundreds of leaks and explosions every year. Not just the old pipelines; the newly-built Keystone pipeline in Canada had over a dozen leaks in its first year of operation. A simple Google search for pipeline explosions is shocking.

The fancy 24/7 monitoring touted by the pipeline companies MISSES 19 out of 20 leaks. This has been well reported in several news sources.

This proposed pipeline is coming very close to hundreds, maybe thousands, of people. And they won’t have a choice about it. Everyone should to be very worried. Are we angry?  OH YEAH!!!

My thanks to Bill Lawson of the Williams Company for sparking this new idea, for another way of expressing how profoundly dangerous this pipeline is.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Frankfort State Journal Letter to the Editor - Dangers of Fracking

The following letter to the editor appeared in the Frankfort State Journal:

Perhaps you aren’t aware of the dangers of fracking. How drilling deep into the earth’s crust and injecting water to “erupt” substances from the rock strata to get at natural gas brings up many additional toxic materials. Maybe you don’t know there is evidence fracking causes underground instability and may cause damaging localized earthquakes.

Perhaps you don’t realize the toxic materials exuded from the earth by fracking have to be disposed somewhere and because the volume of these waste liquids is so great, there are no on-site disposal processes so these dangerous fluids have to be transported somewhere else — often to the Gulf of Mexico by pipeline.

Perhaps you don’t realize pipeline companies are trying to strong-arm Kentuckians and local officials and ram through our state a pipeline carrying horrible fracking pollution liquids — hundreds of thousands of gallons.

You may not know the Williams/Bluegrass pollution pipeline is intended to cross the Kentucky River in the vicinity of the confluence of Franklin, Anderson and Woodford counties. This pipeline, carrying nasty toxic liquids, is proposed to intersect with our region’s drinking water source immediately upriver from the water intakes for Frankfort, Lexington and other surrounding communities.

I trust everyone understands how important clean drinking water is to every human, animal and plant. It’s a fact: we have to have clean water — or else we will die. Do not let fracking liquids pipelines through our state and through our drinking water. Kentuckians should not have to suffer the devastating consequences of fracking activities with these toxic liquids polluting our drinking water and the environment.

Fracking is a bad practice and should not be permitted. Pipelines carrying fracking pollution should not be allowed through our countryside. Remember, they’re not making more land these days — protect what we have!

All Lines Can Break

The following letter to the editor was featured in the Kentucky Standard, a Bardstown newspaper:

To the editor:
When a water line break recently occurred, I was reminded that all lines break at some point.  This includes the Bluegrass Pipeline, which will run approximately two miles from our home. Before signing contracts, homeowners should ask:


  • Will my property value decrease?
  • Will the 50 feet right-of-way plus additional 50 feet for work space, influence my use of the land?
  • When a problem occurs, who will respond, and how long will it take?
Williams has had multiple violations, including an incident involving a pipeline in Colorado. A leak started last December and wasn’t detected until January. Cleanup wasn’t started until March when benzene, a cancer-causing agent, was detected in nearly 180,000 gallons of contaminated groundwater.

Per a Williams spokesman, unless the leaking gas or oil comes “up to the surface, or a pipeline lost pressure, there’s no other way to my knowledge to know if there’s a leak.”
Is our limestone rock that dissolves into underground caves and sinkholes a stable foundation for a pipeline?


Our groundwater will be vulnerable to contamination.
Will the pumps that move the liquid in the pipeline be near my home?  
Am I concerned about Williams’ safety record? Visit this link to see a list of their safety violations.


  • Has my property ever been surveyed without permission?
  • Is there a conflict of interest with our governor’s son working for the law firm that represents Williams? Where does the Nelson County Fiscal Court stand?
  • Why can’t refineries be built near drilling sites?
  • When a break occurs, what will the implications be for my family, neighbors, community and state?
Sr. Marie Visse of the Sisters of Loretto said, “This is just short-term money that has very dangerous potential long-term consequences.” Watch “Promised Land” with Matt Damon. This movie gives insight into how some of these companies operate.

Pendleton County Bluegrass Hazardous Liquids Pipeline Meeting

Anti-Pipeline Meeting Scheduled Williamsburg, Ohio

While the project is progressing, an anti-pipeline community meeting about the proposed Bluegrass Pipeline is scheduled this week for landowners and concerned citizens.

The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 20 at the Williamsburg Community Center, located 107 W. Main Street in Williamsburg, and will feature guest speakers Alison Auciello, from Ohio Food and Water Watch, as well as environmental and regulatory expert James O'Reilly, of the University of Cincinnati Colleges of Medicine and Law.

"I'm going to be covering the danger of pipelines, the particular problems that Williams has had with their safety record and generally why residents there would not want the pipeline coming through their land," Auciello said. "Mr. O'Reilly is going to cover the legal issues surrounding it and how landowners can protect themsevles from the pipeline coming through their land."  Read more...

WDRB Features Woodford County Residents in Pipeline Interview

WOODFORD COUNTY, Ky. (WDRB) -- Worry and even fear continue over the plans to build a pipeline through parts of central Kentucky.

Bob and Deb Pekny live in a peaceful and remote area of Woodford County along the Kentucky River, about five miles upstream from the Kentucky State Capitol building.
But they are afraid that their peace and quiet will someday be disturbed.  "To have something this dangerous come to the neighborhood is mind blowing, I don't know how this can happen," says Bob Pekny.

The couple is concerned about the plans to build a 150 mile pipeline through the state that will run just a half mile down the road from where they live.
The pipeline will carry natural gas liquids.

"If there is an explosion," says Bob Pekny, "there is an excellent chance that this entire community down here on the river will be destroyed."

Last week Bob attended a rally at the state Capitol building in Frankfort opposing the pipeline.  But Debi Pekny stayed away.  "I have not slept through the night since this whole mess started," she says.  Read more and watch this stirring interview with the Peknys.

Bluegrass Hazardous Liquids Pipeline Bust


Local Farm Bureaus Host Pipeline Informational Meeting


Landowners invited to learn more about proposed Bluegrass Pipeline
 
(Perry Township, Ohio) -  Brown, Clermont and Highland County Farm Bureaus along with Brown, Clermont and Highland Soil and Water Conservation Districts invite the public to an informational meeting about the proposed Bluegrass Pipeline on November 26th at 6 p.m. at the Perry Township Hall, located at 3854 US 50, Fayetteville.
 
Guest speakers include Dale Arnold, Ohio Farm Bureau Director of Energy Policy, and an Ohio Department of Natural Resources Spokesperson.  Copies of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Pipeline Standard and Construction Specifications will be available to all landowners.  This is an informational meeting for those who want to learn more about the pipeline or if you have been approached about easements.  For more information contact your local soil and water office or the Farm Bureau office at 937-378-2212.
 
Clermont Soil and Water Conservation District: 1000 Locust Street P.O. Box 549 Owensville, OH 45160

Tell Interior Secretary Jewell to Close the Halliburton Loophole


Recently, when Department of the Interior Secretary Jewell was asked if the administration supports a bill to close Dick Cheney's infamous Halliburton Loophole, which exempts fracking from the Safe Drinking Water Act and parts of other critical environmental laws, she said she wasn't "intimately familiar" with the loophole.
 
Tell Secretary Jewell: The "Halliburton Loophole" fracking exemption is a major threat to our health and safety.  Sign the petition here.

Anderson County Public Meeting with Pipeline Reps December 16th

A meeting with the Bluegrass hazardous liquids pipeline has been scheduled for December 16, 2013 at 6:00 pm at:

Anderson County Extension Office
1026 County Park Rd
Lawrenceburg, KY 40342

The county judge wants a few speakers with questions and for it to be a civil meeting.  We encourage concerned citizens from Anderson and neighboring counties are urged to attend.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Pipeline explosion in Ellis County

MILFORD — Officials in Milford said residents will likely have to wait until late Friday night before they can return home following a gas pipeline explosion Thursday morning south of the town in Ellis County. Read on...

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Williams Company Mailer - "Safety Is Priority One"


When the Williams Company (AKA Bluegrass Pipeline, LLC) first started sending out slick mailers, they were just a little bigger than a post card. Seems like we get one of these in the mail every couple of weeks, and they keep getting bigger and bigger in size along with the lies.  The most recent mailer declares, "Safety Is Priority One."  To that, we simply say the company's history, tactics, and practices say otherwise.  First, there's that troublesome safety record.  Second, there's that little matter of the company planning their route and trying to acquire easements before the Corps of Engineers approves the project.  There's that blatant disregard of Kentucky's unstable geology and the fact that they want to cross under the Ohio and Kentucky rivers, adding yet another hazardous liquids threat to the water supply of millions of people.  There's the matter of using cheaper pipe with a lateral weld as opposed to the seamless pipe (which is more expensive).  I could go on and on, but instead, I'll share this video that says much more than I can about what this company is all about.

TransCanada Has Already Had To Fix 125 Dents And Sags In Southern Keystone Pipeline

In related pipeline news (you can't make this stuff up...) TransCanada Has Already Had To Fix 125 Dents And Sags In Southern Keystone Pipeline!

Synthetic crude oil hasn’t yet entered the southern segment of the Keystone XL pipeline, but a report released Tuesday by non-profit consumer rights group Public Citizen says the pipes are already bending, sagging and peeling to the point of a possible spill or leakage of toxic tar sands.
Drawing on the accounts of landowners, citizens and former workers of TransCanada, the report documents alleged construction problems and engineering code violations along the Texas portion of the pipeline, proved by what the group says is a staggering amount of excavations to correct dents and patch holes. Public Citizen is calling on the Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration to review TransCanada’s construction quality assurance records for possible federal violations, and perform a complete re-testing of the pipeline to see if the repairs work.

Two Proposed Hazardous Liquids Pipelines Threaten Kentucky

It’s open season for hunting Kentucky deer—and apparently for Kentucky pipelines as well.
Right now, there are two proposed pipelines that would carry natural gas liquids through Kentucky. One of these is the Bluegrass Pipeline, a joint venture between Williams and Boardwalk Partners. The proposal involves 500 miles of new construction through Kentucky and Ohio to carry [hazardous liquids] hydrocarbons from drilling (materials like ethane, butane and propane) to processing plants on the Gulf of Mexico.  Read more of this article.

The Kinder Morgan MarkWest joint venture would repurpose 900 miles of Kinder Morgan's existing Tennessee Gas Transmission Natural Gas Line and construct 200 miles of new pipeline in Louisiana and Texas to carry NGL's from PA, Ohio and WV to the Gulf of Mexico.  This 26" natural gas line was originally commissioned in 1946.  You can see the path of the existing Kinder Morgan/MarkWest pipeline here.  [Editorial comment: This looks like another one of those accidents waiting to happen scenarios. MarkWest, if you recall, built a pipeline that recently broke in a West Virginia landslide.]


"...The Bluegrass Pipeline was announced first. But in a recent earnings call, MarkWest CEO Frank Semple told analysts that he only thinks there’s room for one pipeline..
..

.....The Kinder Morgan/MarkWest project] absolutely competes with Bluegrass,” he said. “If you look at the volume projections out of the Utica and Marcellus, and clearly there’s a lot of variability in those forecasts, over the course of the next five years, you would expect that if there is a need for transporting the C2+ Y grade to the Gulf Coast, there’s probably only enough volume to support one of those two projects.”
......

Massive Natural Gas Pipeline Explodes In Texas Town, Causing Evacuation Of 800 Residents

A massive explosion of a 10-inch Chevron natural gas pipeline near a drilling rig in Milford, Texas, led the company to ask law enforcement to evacuate the entire town on Thursday. Milford, in rural Ellis County, is about halfway between Dallas and Waco. The cause is still unknown, and the fire is expected to rage for another day.

Worthy of note is the fact that the Chevron line is only a 10 inch line, while the proposed Bluegrass Hazardous Liquids Pipeline would be more than twice that size.  Further, the hazardous liquids pipeline would carry a toxic mix of volatile NGLs NOT natural gas.  Read more.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Corporate Eminent Domain Abuse Is a Rampant Threat to ALL Americans; Government Sits Idle

A landowner fighting for his rights in Texas against the Keystone XL Pipeline. His battle reflects our own.


It's the kind of grassroots legal battle that sparked the interest of a Bloomberg Businessweek reporter who called Bishop late last night. It's not every day a small East Texas landowner wins a legal step against the U.S. Corps of Engineers, the agency responsible for permitting the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline, the same pipeline that now runs through Bishop's 20 acres.

"This case is important.It's critical because I'm representing landowners that are victims of eminent domain abuse," Bishop said. "This pendulum has swung way too far."

Bluegrass Pipeline gets easements in Nelson, LaRue

The companies seeking to run a pipeline through Nelson County have secured [only]12 easements as of this week, according to papers filed with the Nelson County Clerk’s Office.

Twelve deeds filed Thursday show the companies looking to run the natural gas liquids pipeline paid out $161,128 to Nelson County property owners.

The easements run along the county’s eastern border, ranging from the Bloomfield area down to New Haven. Landowners received between $6,500 and $19,540 for granting permanent 50-foot wide easements across their properties.  Read the full article here.

[The company will have a temporary 100 foot wide construction easement initially to allow heavy equipment and trucking access.  Landowners should be aware that soil compaction may be a problem for a 100 foot wide swath of land across their properties. Soil compaction can cause difficulty with future plant growth, erosion, runoff of water, and difficulty with water absorption.  Compaction may require remediation techniques to restore productivity, reduce erosion, and restore soil to its natural state.]

BG Pipeline Opposition Due to Kentucky History an Companies

To say the rollout of the Bluegrass Pipeline was bungled in Nelson County is an understatement.

In June, officials from the companies looking to construct the natural gas liquids pipeline through 13 counties in Kentucky, including Nelson, attended a public meeting organized by Nelson County Fiscal Court.

The local interest in the project was apparent by the number of people who attended looking for answers to their questions. Unfortunately, even the representatives who showed up admitted they were lacking in useful information.  Read more.

A Realtor’s Take on Eminent Domain and the Propsed Bluegrass Pipeline

One of the greatest constitutional rights in our country is the right to own real estate.

Individual property rights are now being threatened by the owners of the Bluegrass Pipeline. This private company will transport natural gas liquids through the proposed pipeline.
I believe that eminent domain was intended for government use for acquiring private land when necessary for the construction of projects such as roads, dams or lakes. 

I hope that you will urge members of our General Assembly to not allow eminent domain to be used by a private company against landowners.  Read more.

Students Prepare to Argue on Bluegrass Pipeline

Fourth-graders at Booker T. Washington Intermediate Academy keep up with current events as they gather pertinent facts, weigh pros and cons, and learn to argue their position with pencil and paper. Their topic: the proposed Bluegrass Pipeline.

Kinder Morgan Contacts Marion County about Converting Pipeline for NGLs

While the companies working on the Bluegrass Pipeline project have started acquiring property in Kentucky in hopes of building a new pipeline, a second project — which already has easements and pipelines in place — is also in the works.

Instead of building a new pipeline, Kinder Morgan and MarkWest Utica are hoping to convert an existing pipeline to carry natural gas liquids to the Gulf of Mexico.


“Kinder Morgan will be exploring this proposed project with interested stakeholders including landowners, elected officials, local governments, and their residents, as well as appropriate state and federal agencies in the upcoming months,” wrote Allen Fore, Kinder Morgan’s director of public affairs, in a letter dated Oct. 22 to Marion County Judge/Executive John G. Mattingly.


Mattingly said he’d been aware of another possible NGL project, but this letter was the first direct contact he’d received from Kinder Morgan.  Read more.

Sisters of Loretto, Faithful America Deliver 36,000 Petition Signatures to Governor Beshear

Religious groups in Kentucky are continuing to fight against a potentially dangerous gas pipeline that two energy companies want to bury underneath 13 of the state's counties. 

On Tuesday, a group of religious leaders and concerned citizens delivered a petition with about 36,000 signatures to Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear (D), said protest attendee Susan Classen, a member of the Sisters of Loretto, a group of nuns in Marion County who have led the fight against the construction of the Bluegrass Pipeline.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Tomorrow Morning - Kentucky State Capitol - 9:45 - Be There If You Can!

Photo Credit:  Courtesy of the Frankfort State Journal

You may have heard about the Sisters of Loretto who are working hard to help stop the Bluegrass Pipeline from destroying our land. These women have been working tirelessly to help us try to convince Steve Beshear to step in and stop this project and have gained international attention.  Working with Faithful America, they have gathered over 30,000 signatures on their petition that they plan to present tomorrow, Tuesday morning.  Can you stand with the nuns on Tuesday morning?

As they continue their courageous fight against the dangerous Bluegrass Pipeline, the Sisters of Loretto will be at the state capitol to deliver over 30,000 petition signatures to Governor Steve Beshear.

We need a good crowd to help show the governor and the media that the sisters have the support of thousands of Kentuckians who don't want a pipeline that'll threaten homes and drinking water across the commonwealth.

We plan to gather at 9:45 a.m. on the steps of the state capitol for a brief press conference (and a performance by singer-songwriter Daniel Martin Moore). Can you be there?

If you join us:
1.  The capitol is located at  700 Capitol Avenue, Frankfort, KY  40601.
2.  The phone number at the capitol is 502-564-5444.
3.  If you want to go inside the building, bring a photo identification.
4.  There are two ways to enter the building - the front entrance, and the left-hand end of the building.

If you are unable to come, there are ways you can help.


1.  Write a letter to the Corps of Engineers and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission at:

James Townsend
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Regulatory Branch, P.O. Box 59
Louisville, KY 40201

Ms. Kimberly Bose, Secretary
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
888 First Street NE, Room 1A
Washington, D.C. 20426

What to Include in the Letter:


· Require a comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement on new and repurposed portions of the Bluegrass NGL Pipeline Project.” 

· Collaborate to conduct a full environmental analysis of the need, alternative routes and alternatives to the pipeline, and the social, environmental, and economic impacts of the project

· Advise the project proponents that no actions that would commit resources to a particular project route, including easement acquisition, so be allowed pending the completion of a comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement.

Include personal details of how the Bluegrass Pipeline could affect your land and your quality of life.

2.  Call or write to your State Senator and Representative and ask them to Co-Sponsor BR 129 and BR 198:

3.  Contact your state Senator and Representative, and ask them to “co-sponsor  BR 129 (in the Senate) and BR 198 (in the House) to limit condemnation powers for oil and gas pipelines to utilities regulated by the Kentucky Public Service Commission.”

Senator Higdon and Representative Floyd are the lead sponsors. You can contact your state Senator and Representative by linking to www.lrc.ky.gov/Legislators.htm or by calling them at 502-564-8100 (this is not a toll-free call).


Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions at woodlandgrace@gmail.com.  Thank you for your efforts to help!  We cannot win without you.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Does Fracking = Energy Independence? Clearly Not - Natural Gas Will Cost More This Winter Than Last Year

PSC says consumers can reduce bills through energy efficiency 

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Oct. 31, 2013) – Natural gas costs at the start of the 2013-2014 heating season will be higher than last year, but are still well below the peak reached in 2008, the Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC) said today.


Tempted to Sell Your Land Rights for $34.00 Per Linear Foot? Read about Williams' Company Exec Salaries and Profits

Here is the company's 10-Q report filed yesterday with the Securities and Exchange Commission for the third quarter 2013.  It contains some very good narrative about all the company's holdings and overall performance.
 
And if you're curious about Executive Compensation at Williams Partners, here is a link to the company's 10-K annual report for 2012 where you will see that CEO Alan Armstrong has seen his total compensation rise from a mere $ 2 M in 2010 to $6.4 M in 2012. 
 
You can also see in this report where Mr. Armstrong would collect $18,000,000 if he were to liquidate his common stock holdings of Williams Partners LP.  If he exercised all his stock options, and ultimately sold all of his stock holdings....well, that would net him only $42,400,000.