It seems as though Kentucky is under a new assault from the fossil fuel industry, this time in the form of a proposed natural gas pipeline. The aptly named "Bluegrass Pipeline" threatens to cut through Central Kentucky on it's way to connect to an existing pipeline in Hardinsburg, KY and then on to the Gulf Coast. The funders of the pipeline have stated that the project is on "speed to market" timeline, aiming to be operational by 2015.
And surprise, surprise the companies involved are already being shady about it. The project is a joint venture between Williams and Boardwalk Pipeline Partners and thus far they have not held any public meetings and have cancelled their appearance at a Fiscal Court meeting in Nelson County at the last minute. Not only has there been a lack of information provided to the general public about the project, but there has also been reports of bullying on the part of representatives going door-to-door. These reports include targeting the elderly, being extremely pushy, and in at least one instance telling a resident that they "might as well lease, because we will get your land either way". It is unclear as to whether or not the companies will seek eminent domain, but it is clear that many Kentuckians can't see the benefits outweighing the cost in this one, and are not going to forfeit their land without a fight.
Even scarier than the thought of a natural gas pipeline cutting through our farmlands, and the compressor stations along the way adding to our already polluted air, is the idea that this pipeline is not only infrastructure for carrying natural gas liquids (butane, propane, and ethane) from the fracking regions of the Northeast, but may also be part of a grander scheme to start fracking in the shale regions of Kentucky. Now this hasn't been stated anywhere, as of now it is just a scary thought, but humor me for a minute. We know that there is shale in Central and Eastern Kentucky, and that said shale is not currently being extracted. Why on earth haven't companies come in to frack? It isn't like the Kentucky government has anything against large extractive industries or poisoning our air and water. BUT there is a lack of infrastructure, which could make it more difficult and expensive to develop in KY. Hmmm. If an interstate pipeline is built through the state, how long will it be before the fracking companies come-a-knockin'?
We need a ban on hydraulic fracturing in the Bluegrass State and we need to stop this pipeline. We have suffered enough at the hands of the dirty fossil fuel industries, our people are sick with asthma and worse, and our water is already polluted. While coal mining may be entrenched in our history and a hard issue to tackle, fracking is not and we must stand together and demand better.
With that I will leave you with one of my favorite chants: "When our future is under attack, what do we do?" "STAND UP, FIGHT BACK!"