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Petition Started in Hill Country to Stop Permian Highway Pipeline

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Houston-based Kinder Morgan is hoping to break ground on the $2 billion Permian Highway Pipeline in the fall of 2019 and have it fully operational by late 2020. The pipeline will transport natural gas from West Texas to the Gulf Coast market – a project that the company calls integral to the state’s economy. However, a recent petition started by the Wimberley Valley Watershed Association (WVWA) in the Texas Hill Country may have something to say about the pipeline’s proposed route.

A Kinder Morgan spokesman has stated that environmental issues are required to be taken into account in the pipeline route planning process. The company is no stranger to such developments, managing 25,000 miles of pipeline in Texas alone. The Permian Highway Pipeline to the Houston area is proposed to create 2,500 construction jobs and result in 18 full-time jobs when finished. However, some Texas Hill Country landowners and residents have voiced concerns with the 42-inch steel pipeline, citing underground water reservoirs and endangered species in Central Texas that they feel the project could disrupt. They want it re-routed elsewhere, circumventing Caldwell, Hayes, Blanco, and Gillespie counties altogether, amid fears of contaminated water, poisoned wildlife or livestock, or worse – an explosion. As part of that effort, the WVWA has started an online petition to stop “the Permian Highway Pipeline from coming through the Hill Country to ensure that the natural resources, aquifers, springs, urban areas, and pristine landscapes are protected.”

Petition Started in Hill Country to Stop Permian Highway Pipeline

Photo: Pexels

Company officials specify that the proposed pipeline will rest at a minimum of three feet beneath the surface, and, at a minimum, will likely go 30 feet beneath riverbeds. However, the company has unfortunately experienced leaks in the past. Combined with the process of having public concerns heard, these instances have given cause for alarm amongst some Hill Country residents. The routing of the project is determined by the owner (Kinder Morgan), while the Texas Railroad Commission is tasked with its regulation. In the meantime, a spokeswoman for the TRC said that the agency has the utmost concern for the “protection of public safety and our natural resources” despite the fact that it has “no jurisdiction over the routing or siting” of the project.

Petition Started in Hill Country to Stop Permian Highway Pipeline

Photo: Wikipedia/ Tim Evanson

While some landowners are working to ensure that the easements that will be required are negotiated fairly and cover every aspect they feel is important, others have taken the route of simply opposing the Kinder Morgan pipeline; hence the petition noted above. The Permian Highway Pipeline may see the creation of employment and the movement of product that could otherwise be flared into the air (according to prior reports). However, despite the fact Kinder Morgan has said that property easements will be paid for at fair market value, some Hill Country landowners remain opposed to it. They’re attending clinics designed to explain their rights, and becoming educated on the process for development in the very industry that the state was practically founded on. Kinder Morgan has said that all the rights-of-way that are required are now in place, and they’re moving ahead with construction of the Permian Highway Pipeline, scheduled for October of this year.