By Cara Cooper
It looks like the proposed Bluegrass Pipeline is planning on crossing the Kentucky State University Research Farm. The farm currently has a route mapped out through the property with flags where the pipeline might be built.
There has been no publicity around this and no student input as to whether or not students feel like the pipeline will be worth the risks to the environment and the safety of those working at the farm. We can not let this pipeline be built without adequate student and faculty input!
KSEC is fighting back against this segment of the pipeline. Read the letter that we submitted to the Kentucky State University President and Board of Regents below.
Want to help? Join our BG Pipeline Rapid Response email list!
July 24th, 2013
Dear President Sias and the Kentucky State University Board of Regents,
It has recently come to the attention of the Kentucky Student Environmental Coalition that Kentucky State University has already allowed the Bluegrass Pipeline companies to survey the university’s Research and Demonstration Farm and to put up markers for a proposed natural gas liquids pipeline. We believe that allowing this pipeline to be built across public university land is a very bad decision and would like to show our deep concerns by asking that you choose to make the responsible choice of not allowing this to happen.
The Kentucky Student Environmental Coalition is a network of students and organizations from over 12 Kentucky colleges and universities united to advocate for environmental protection and the health and well-being of Kentuckians. We also aim to hold ourselves, our campuses, our communities, the government, and corporations accountable for the impacts on our planet and the injustice placed on many for the wealth of few. We oppose the Bluegrass Pipeline for many reasons, including the fact that the pipeline will have no public benefit for Kentuckians. Natural gas liquids and pipeline transportation systems are dangerous and the extraction and transport of these liquids negatively impacts ecosystems, people, and the climate.
If built the proposed pipeline will be carrying 200,000- 400,000 gallons of natural gas liquids across our beautiful farmlands and over our unique karst landscape. Natural gas liquids (NGLs) are gases such as butane, ethane, and propane and are mostly used in creating plastics. In fact, the majority of these liquids are slated for export once they reach the Gulf Coast. By supporting this pipeline you would be not only supporting the transportation of these dangerous gases through our state, but would also be supporting the export of our natural resources for private gain on the international market. Not to mention the dirty and dangerous “hydraulic fracturing” that is poisoning extraction communities in the Northeast United States.
Our colleges and universities should be the places leading our state and country forward and setting a strong example for others to follow. Many residents are extremely opposed to this pipeline and are fearful not only of the environmental impacts but also for the safety of those living and working near the pipeline route. Pipelines are known to be faulty and accident-prone and we would hope that the university would seriously consider the risks of a pipeline through an area of land where students and professors will be put at risk. It is not okay to jeopardize our collective and your university’s constituents futures for money.
Please consider this letter as our first step in trying to open a dialogue between the university and those who will be most affected by this decision, including your students and faculty as well as neighbors in nearby communities and our coalition. We strongly urge the university to reconsider this decision and to open up this conversation to allow student and faculty input in your final decision.
The Kentucky Student Environmental Coalition
P.S. Here are some links to start your research into the impacts and dangers associated with this pipeline and the frightening record of Williams (one of the pipeline companies).
Recent Accidents at Williams facilities
By Cara Cooper, KSEC Organizer
It is frustrating to think that the very agencies who are supposed to be protecting us don't take their jobs seriously. It is the responsibility of the Kentucky Department of Water to protect our waterways, the very reason that they exist, yet this year our Department of Water proposed new selenium standards that will hurt our water, our people, and out economy. If you ask me they should be fired.
It is even more frustrating that our legislature, which is supposed to act for the good of their constituents would approve these standards, even after recieving hundreds of public comments and facing a room full of citizen opponents to these regulations. But that's what they did, in April of this year.
The newly proposed standards will increase the allowable selenium in our waterways to fourteen times the earlier standard! The standards also change the way that the selenium levels will be sampled. The new sampling method requires a fish tissue sample. Now don't get me wrong, fish tissue sampling is a very good indicator of selenium levels in a body of water. The main problem with this method is that many streams in Kentucky, especially in the coal mining parts of the state, are "dead". It is impossible to test fish tissue, if there is no fish populations to test. So not only is the standard too high, it is practically unenforceable.
Leave it to Kentucky to value the right to pollute over the right to clean water and healthy ecosystems. Luckily, these new standards must be approved by the EPA before they can be enacted, so there is another place to try and get our voices heard on this important issue. Join the Kentucky Student Environmental Coalition in the "Save Our Streams Day of Action" on Wednesday July 24th and email or call the Region 4 EPA. Ask them to deny these changes and propose safe, enforceable standards for our water. More information on our website, including sample call and email scripts!
The Young Kentuckian is a blog of the Kentucky Student Environmental Coalition where youth share their work and ideas for Kentucky's bright future.
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