Friday, January 10, 2014

ACTION ALERT - CALL THE FREE ACTION LINE TODAY AND EVERY DAY!

Your help is needed NOW!  Please call the legislative hotline to stop the Bluegrass hazardous liquids pipeline from abusing eminent domain and taking your land rights:

1-800-372-7181

Please tell them:

1.  The county you live in.
2.  That your message is to go to all state legislators.
3.  That you support Senator Jimmy Higdon's Senate Bill 14.
4.  Tell them you want them to stop the Bluegrass Pipeline and other private companies from abusing eminent domain.
5.  The House leadership and your representative should also hear that we want a strong eminent domain bill styled after Senate bill 14.    


We have learned that people who know nothing about what the Bluegrass pipeline really is are being paid to call the legislature in support of the project.

We have to act now.  Call, and ask your friends and family to also call.  If you are the member of any group such as a church, a civic organization, a garden club, a union, or other organization with multiple members, please also use your connections to contact members and ask them to call today and every day for the entire legislative session.

              
Everyone needs to call the hotline – 1-800-372-7181 to express your strong support of Senate Bill 14, the strongest eminent domain bill filed.  Call now and urge your family and friends to call.  Make sure to direct your message to the Senate leadership as well as your Senator.  The House leadership and your representative should also hear that we want a strong eminent domain bill styled after Senate bill 14. To talk to a legislator directly call 502-564-8100.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

A Grinch for Christmas in Franklin Forks, Pennsylvania?

Did the Williams Company contaminate families' water in Pennsylvania and then take away their emergency fresh water supply?  The Catskill Citizens' website reports that two Susquehanna County families fear they will face the holiday season without water after learning that a federal court judge has given a gas drilling company permission to come onto their property and remove the "water buffalos" and other equipment that have supplied their homes with water for the past twenty months.
 
This is the just latest twist in a protracted dispute between families living in the small rural community of Franklin Forks, PA, and WPX Energy, an Oklahoma-based gas drilling company. In late 2011, several area residents complained that their water suddenly turned gray or black after WPX drilled nearby shale gas wells. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection investigated and fined WPX for defective cement casings on the two gas wells nearest the impacted homes, but it did not link the defective well casings to the contaminated water wells.

Williams Compressor Station, Windsor NY is (again) on Fire

We wonder if the 24-hour state-of-the-art monitoring system saw this coming?  We've just learned from the New York Friends of Clean Air and Water that the Williams Company owned-operated compressor station in West Windsor NY is on fire.
The Friends website reported this marks the seventh time in 2 years that a major accident occurred at a Williams facility.

  1. Dec 3, 2011: Marengo County Alabama compressor fire/explosion
  2. Mar 29, 2012: Lathrop/Springville PA (Susquehanna Co. PA) compressor fire/explosion
  3. July 23, 2012: Windsor Compressor, lightening strike caused blowdown exhaust to catch fire  
  4. May 14, 2013: Williams Central Station, Brooklyn PA (Susquehanna County), explosion /fire. 
  5. May 30, 2013: Branchburg NJ, compressor station fire/explosion, 13 injured. 
  6. Jun 24, 2013: Geismer, Louisiana, Olefins Plant, explosion/fire. 
  7. Jan 6, 2014: Windsor NY Compressor Station fire.  Read more here.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Bluegrass Hazardous Liquids Pipeline Myths Dispelled

If you've read the many Op-ed articles appearing in newspapers statewide, you need to know that they contain a great deal of misleading information.  
Never forget that the company reps are just that--company reps.  Their job is to do whatever they can to get the job done.  Period.  They're not our neighbors, our friends, or even Kentuckians.  They are out-of-state business people who want to:
1. Build a hazardous liquids pipeline at the lowest cost possible; and
2.  Use whatever media and means possible to get that done.
It is not their job to tell you the details, and let me assure you that the devil is indeed in those details. 
Here's what you need to know:
1. The proposed Bluegrass hazardous liquids pipeline is not a natural gas pipeline.
2.  It is not a utility.  Period.  There are several mixed liquids that will go through this pipeline, and most of them are used in plastics production.  There is strong reason to believe many of these liquids will be exported and NOT used here in the US.  This is NOT about energy independence.
3.  No company can simply "tap into" the line to use the hazardous liquids.  For any company to use them, at least three major things would have to happen.  
  • First, a multi-billion dollar petrochemical plant would have to be built to separate and process the liquids into feedstock.
  • Second, the feedstock would have to be shipped to industrial plants to be further processed into whatever components a company would require...such as plastic dashboards for cars, for example.
  • Third, the finished components would have to be shipped to whatever company would use them. 
    Logically, there are only a handful of Kentucky companies that could possibly use the finished products.  It seems extremely unlikely that any company with the money to build a petrochemical plant would do so in Kentucky with such a small customer base when there are already existing facilities in Louisiana where this pipeline is going.  Further, the companies that are here already have suppliers.  Toyota, for example, has been up and running for quite awhile and is thriving without the Bluegrass pipeline.
4.   The company claims this pipeline will ensure a "continuous flow of natural gas to Kentucky in the future."  Again, this is not a natural gas pipeline.  It will not be bringing ethane to Kentucky.  In fact, the only liquid component this line is slated to carry is propane.  Propane can be used as fuel in the US.  HOWEVER....and that is a big however....if the company really wanted to provide this propane to people in the US, then why isn't it being distributed in the areas where it is being taken out of the ground?  Surely, there are people in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia who use propane.  Why send it to Louisiana?  To export it over seas where more money can be made by the company.  If we export propane to other countries, citizens will be competing with foreign countries over propane.  That will drive prices up here in the US.

5.  The company does not clearly have eminent domain rights in Kentucky law.  The company is using this to encourage land owners to sell out.  If you hold out, you will be in a stronger position to negotiate.

6. This pipeline, if built, WILL lead to increase fracking in Kentucky.  Why should we care?  We need only to look to the experiences of other states to understand why this is bad.  It is contaminating ground water with cancer-causing chemicals and releasing radioactive substances into the ground--and causing pollution.  It is destroying the quality of life of many families in and around the areas where it is occurring.  Watch Gasland, Gasland II, and split estate.  Learn from the mistakes made elsewhere, and stop this from happening to our state and our people.
5. Fracking contaminates ground water with carcinogens and radioactive materials.
 
6. Fracking permanently destroys massive amounts of fresh water.  It cannot be cleaned.  It cannot be returned to the environment.  It is being injected underground for storage where it is being linked to earthquakes in several states.
7. The pipeline is not going to create long term jobs.  It will, however, prevent jobs from being created and may cause losses of jobs in the trucking and rail industries. 
8. Pipelines are safer than trucks and rail? No. Pipeline incidents release far more toxins than rail or trucking incidents.  Yes, there have been some recent rail explosions.  There have also been pipeline explosions.  Neither method of transport is completely safe.  Pipelines do allow for cheaper, continuous flow of hazardous liquids, which translates to greater profits for the company.  That's what they want.  Remember, they are in business to maximize profits, preferably at others' expense.
9. Independence in general? Research what this company is doing to export OUR natural resources to other countries.  I don't see how this makes us independent.  I do see how this makes them more wealthy and will increase natural gas prices here.

10.  Many people think this doesn't affect them.  I understand that.  When I first read about fracking in Pennsylvania, I didn't see how it could affect me.  Now, this pipeline that would carry fracked byproducts wants to threaten my home, my neighbors, and our state.  No private company should be able to use eminent domain against tax paying citizens.  This will devalue our homes and land, and place our quality of life in danger.  If this pipeline is permitted to use eminent domain, then EVERY Kentuckian's property will be at risk at any time.  Think this can't happen to you because you live in a city away from the pipeline?  Think again...not long ago, several families lost their homes because UPS wanted to build near the airport in Louisville.  Guess who was running Louisville at the time and allowed this to happen?  Our Lt. Governor. 

11.  We have an opportunity to stop this.  Call and write your legislators and your newspapers--even if you don't live near the pipeline.  This is not just a local issue, it is a Kentucky issue, and it is a national issue.  
If we do not unite and stand against this, then the United States is no longer a democracy. If we fail, there will be no reason to work or try to own property in this country.  The American dream will no longer exist.

Think this is not your issue? Think again!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Next Week Is Mission Critical in Kentucky Legislature

The would be builders of the proposed Bluegrass hazardous liquids pipeline will be lobbying the legislature next week trying to garner support for their project when the session convenes beginning January 7, 2014. It is critical that we all do what we can to ensure that our voices are heard. Here are ways you can help:

1. Write letters to newspapers. Find your newspaper, and zip off an email with MoveOn.org's easy tool here:
http://civ.moveon.org/lte/index.html?lte_campaign_id=132

2. Representatives friendly to our cause are asking us to call the legislative hotline at 1-800-372-7181 in opposition to the pipeline. Every call is important.  We would like to remind our friends in Marion, Green, and LaRue counties that their voices are especially important as well.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

News Agencies Nationwide Watching Kentucky's Legislature on the Pipeline

News agencies nationwide are watching Kentucky.  In the legislative session beginning January 7, 2014, lawmakers will take up the issue of whether a private company can use eminent domain to condemn landowners' property.

As followers of this site will know, the Tulsa-based Williams Company and Texas-based Boardwalk want to build a hazardous liquids pipeline across Kentucky.  They claim they have the right to condemn private property and have been using that threat against families and farmers across the Bluegrass. A strong and vocal grass roots movement has formed across the state to stop this corporate abuse of the vaguely worded eminent domain law, and legislators will address the issue in the upcoming session.

In a true David vs Goliath scenario, an unlikely mix of families, farmers, nuns, monks, teachers, retirees, horse farmers, distillery workers, factory workers, activists, and many more hard-working, tax-paying Kentuckians have banded together against multi-billion dollar companies to protect their families from the hazardous liquids pipeline.  Kentuckians strongly oppose the pipeline for multiple reasons.  Below are just a few:

1.  The Williams Company's history of Enronesque behaviors, explosions and leaks are an issue.  Most recently OSHA found willful violation of regulations in connection with a petrochemical plant explosion in Geismar, Louisiana.  Two individuals were killed and many more injured in that explosion.

2.  Families who own homes and farms in the proposed hazardous liquids pipeline's path are deeply concerned about the precedent it would set for Kentucky and the country if private companies are permitted to use eminent domain.  This abuse must be stopped.  Otherwise, there will be absolutely no reason to work and own property in this country.  Period.  Why invest in anything if it can be forcibly taken from you by a private company?

3.  Families are deeply concerned about the impact that the pipeline easement will have on their land use and property values.  They also worry about potential contamination of ground water and soil.

4.  Kentucky's governor, Steve Beshear, claims to be neutral on the pipeline issue, and yet, in his inaction, he is actually helping the pipeline company.  Further, it was recently exposed by Forbes that he is actively partnering with other governors favorable to fracking. Because the proposed pipeline would carry fracking byproducts, it would appear that Mr. Beshear is, in fact, supportive of the pipeline. Kentuckians are crying foul for good reason.  Beshear's former law firm is currently representing the pipeline and has represented Boardwalk for years.  Beshear's son, Andrew Beshear, who is running for attorney general is also working for that firm and has been seen escorting pipeline representatives around Frankfort, as reported in local media.  Many Kentuckians have expressed a desire for an investigation into exactly when the pipeline deal was conceived and what Steve Beshear's role in it might have been in the past.  Kentuckians also want to know what his current involvement has been.  Some have even asked who is funding what appear to be state-owned helicopters or other state resources that could possibly be being used to support the pipeline surveying activities.  This website cannot confirm any of these allegations, but the questions have been raised at public meetings across the state.