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House panel rejects eminent domain for pipelines

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 26, 2014 at 6:11 pm •  Published: February 26, 2014

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Landowners from across Kentucky testified to a House committee Wednesday that they have been harassed by companies involved in the Bluegrass Pipeline project and been threatened that the state's eminent domain laws would be used to seize their land if they refuse to sell.

The committee then passed legislation that would bar private natural gas liquid companies from using eminent domain laws to acquire property.

House committee chair Rep. John Tilley, D-Hopkinsville is the bill's sponsor.

"If the state or anyone else is to condemn private property," Tilley said, "that should be for public use which our constitution clearly states and we as a legislature have clearly confirmed in subsequent years."

Tilley added that although the bill cleared the committee by a wide margin, he anticipates strong amendments to be attached to it in the House.

Also in attendance was Tom FitzGerald of the Kentucky Resources Council. FitzGerald said that Kentucky isn't alone in clarifying its eminent domain laws. He cited recent Texas statutes which distinguish natural gas liquids from utilities which also use eminent domain laws.

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