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Kentucky House rejects eminent domain for pipeline

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 21, 2014 at 3:59 pm •  Published: March 21, 2014

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — The Kentucky House has passed legislation that would bar private natural gas liquid companies from using eminent domain laws to acquire property.

Companies such as the Bluegrass Pipeline project would be required to purchase land from consenting property owners before they can build on it.

Under current Kentucky law, oil and natural gas companies are given the use of eminent domain to claim easements for public service projects, but there is no specific language granting the same privilege to natural gas liquid companies.

Bill sponsor Rep. John Tilley, a Hopkinsville Democrat, said natural gas liquids do not provide a public service and don't qualify for eminent domain privilege.

Rep. David Floyd, R-Bardstown, is a co-sponsor of the legislation. He said the materials pumped through the pipeline are hazardous materials for which Kentuckians receive no financial or environmental benefit.

"It's like a colon that takes stuff and drops it down in Louisiana," he said. "Only it's not my products. It's somebody else's."

When critics of the bill countered that preventing the Bluegrass Pipeline project from using eminent domain to condemn a landowner's property could mean losing jobs, Floyd defended the measure.

"It does not impede any business process. It does not inhibit any jobs. The pipeline will proceed," said Floyd. "What we're trying to do is protect those private property owners, protect those private landowners from the big, multi-state, carpetbagging companies that want to come here and condemn their property."

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