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To the editor:
Thanks to the Anderson County Fiscal Court for hosting the Bluegrass Pipeline forum last week.
The parent companies of the BG pipeline flew in 12 or so top executives to answer questions. For them to spend that kind of money to speak to residents tells me how much they want and how much is to be made from a pipeline.
They answered many questions I had but it left many unanswered. My foremost concern is about the environmental impact that any rupture may have to a Karst environment like ours. As they pump 400,000 barrels of NGLs a day through our county, in case of an incident, the impact to our water supply and environment would be catastrophic.
Even though they stated they are safety conscious 24/7, the record of the two parent companies is not convincing. I learned that shut off valves will be located on the average of every six miles through the 1,800 miles of pipe. However, more shut off valves would be located near what they term as high consequence areas (HCA) like populations, parks, etc. So, in the remote area of Anderson County, there may not be a single shut off valve and it could be 15-plus miles between valves.
I also learned that “most” of the valves will be remotely operated but no percentage of most was given. Therefore, a response team that they say will be within four hours away would have to locate and shut the valve. My concern is that the computers monitoring a leak does not trigger if the leak is below 1.6 percent. So a lesser leak that could be in thousands may never be detected.
They would not give specific gallons or barrels because there are so many intangibles like the viscosity of the fluid, etc. Anyone who has driven I-64 by the river has seen the numerous layers of streams that flow. Icicles are good indicators. They claim that most of the liquid would evaporate in the air which, given the chemicals, would not be good. However, in a Karst area, the liquid may never come to the surface.
My family has experienced that with a waterline leak. Thousands of gallons of water were lost before we were alerted by the water company of the high usage. Not a single drop appeared above ground. With NGLs the liquids would contain poisons such as benzene and the remnants of the NGLs would remain for years continuing to poison the water. Trying to reprocess water from multi-layered streams that all flow to our drinking water would be quite impossible and any effort would also have a detrimental environmental impact.
I do understand how tempting it will be for landowners to see the amounts BG pipeline is offering. Given that much of the land is remote and not in pasture, it would be easy to take the money. However, the greater good of our community seems to me to be at risk. If they have already purchased easements for 3.5 of the seven miles in this county, I wonder if we have enough owners remaining that will take a courageous stand for the benefit of our kids and our future.