Update & Action Alert: The proposed Bluegrass Pipeline is a pivotal property rights issue in the history of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.  Despite lobbying efforts by nine registered lobbyists for Williams and Boardwalk, along with the Kentucky Oil & Gas Association, the Kentucky Association of Manufacturers, and the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, the House of Representatives advanced House Bill 31 in a landslide vote of 75-16 on March 21.  

There is not much time left to get the bill passed in the Senate. Please follow the action alert to the right to ensure that the Senate follows the House's lead by actively working for the passage of House Bill 31. 

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About the Proposed bluegrass pipeline 

​On March 6, 2013, Boardwalk Pipeline Partners and Williams announced the intent to form a joint venture that would develop a hazardous liquids pipeline system, known as the "Bluegrass Pipeline," to transport "Natural Gas Liquids  (NGLs)," from the Marcellus and Utica shale formations in Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania to the Gulf Coast.  According to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), there are less than 28,000 miles of NGL pipelines in the US, making up just 1.6% of total pipeline mileage.

The project will not contribute to America's energy independence

Natural gas liquids (NGLs) primarily supply the petrochemical industry and come out of the ground with natural gas during a process called “fracking” in “wet shale” areas.  Companies are drilling in wet shale so they can boost profits by selling both methane and natural gas liquids. 


The domestic abundance of natural gas has been followed by a glut of natural gas liquids, and companies like Williams are looking to build infrastructure to export both products to other countries where the prices are higher, including an export facility to send Bluegrass contents overseasWilliams has also invested in a project in the Northwest that would facilitate the exportation of natural gas. Residents there are concerned that this will drive up their energy costs. As energy companies hope to move toward exporting natural gas and liquids, projects like Bluegrass could contribute to depleting our energy reserves and driving up the cost of American energy. Exports already driving up propane prices in Kentucky. 

It puts neighbors at odds and at risk

Neighbors along the proposed new portion of the route are already at odds over the pipeline, and there are reports that landowners are being given large offers with bonuses to sign in a two-week time period. If something seems too good to be true, it usually is. 

According to a U.S. PHMSA Valve Study, with a pipeline of this volume and pressure, even a “moderate incident” could cause significant damage within a 1000-foot radius, and a “significant incident” could cause damage within 5000-foot radius. Even though it’s understood that all pipelines eventually leak, company representatives indicated at a community meeting that their setback requirement from homes is 50 feet.  Granting a right-of-way leaves nearby neighbors and their property value at risk even though they do not receive compensation for the danger and do not want to live near a high-pressure hazardous liquids pipeline.

Additionally, Williams Co's safety record has been cause of much concern, including two major incidents in the first half of 2013.  The first was an NGL pipeline leak in Parachute, CO that went unnoticed for 2 weeks.  The groundwater there is still contaminated with cancer-causing benzene. The second incident was a petrochemical plant explosion in June 2013 which resulted in two deaths and injured more than 100 people.  The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently cited Williams for six safety violations in connection with the explosion, including one "willful violation." An OSHA director said the company failed in its responsibility to "find and fix" safety violations and ensure the safety of it's workers, which cost two workers their lives. 

The benefits to Kentucky are minimal 

There has been no commitment to hire Kentuckians to fill any permanent or temporary construction jobs in Kentucky. At a recent community meeting, company reps would not commit to hiring locally.  

At current NGL prices, the proposed pipeline would carry $8-$16 million worth of NGLs to the Gulf of Mexico every day, or $3-$6 billion per year. Given these figures, the projected payout to Kentucky landowners for a PERMANENT easement would be worth less than week's worth of NGL flowing through Kentucky land. The annual tax revenue projection of $13.6 million, which has not been substantiated by the Kentucky Department of Revenue, also pales in comparison to the value of the liquids flowing through the state.

Kentucky businesses and citizens will not use the pipeline.  The hazardous liquids running through the pipeline would have no commercial use until they are separated at a fractionation plant in Louisiana. 

The easement is a bad deal for landowners

Granting an easement makes the landowner a “servient” tenant, and Bluegrass Pipeline LLC the PERMANENT and “dominant” tenant. A standard easement places many limitations on property use, including growing trees, building structures, or making other improvements if the company doesn’t allow it, and would also allow additional pipelines to be constructed without landowner permission or additional payment, despite what company executives are sharing at community meetings. The company would inspect property - flying, driving, or walking – at least 26 times per year.  A group of Pennsylvania landowners are suing a Williams subsidiary after granting an easement due to claims of property damage and harassment.  

Bluegrass Pipeline is a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC), and company reps indicated at a community meeting in Scott County that parent companies Williams and Boardwalk would not sign easements.  What if the LLC is is denied insurance coverage for a large incident in the community, as was the case in an Ivel, KY NGL incident, and not capitalized to cover damages?

The proposed route is risky and threatens ground and surface water

The proposed route puts more than two dozen Kentucky counties at risk.  The new construction portion of the route would pass through 120 miles of karst terrain and through counties with “tens of thousands of sinkholes,” according to a leading hydrogeologist in the state. Survey stakes have been seen over caves, through natural springs, and near sinkholes.

The planned route would cross more than 700 waterways, including the Ohio and Kentucky Rivers, and the Mississippi River in three spots. As of 10/27/13, the company’s website indicates that a pipeline bridge will be built above the high water mark for most waterways.

Groundwater risk is underscored by a few examples of past incidents: 1) In the winter of 1988-89, Georgetown lost its water supply when gasoline was detected in the spring that supplies the city.  Customers had to be issued bottled water for several weeks. 2) A Williams NGL pipeline in Parachute, CO leaked for two weeks at the end of 2012 and benzene, a known carcinogen, is still present in the groundwater

The pipeline would not benefit those who buy or inherit the land

When the pipeline leaks hazardous liquids, those who suffer the consequences will not likely be those who were compensated.


NGL pipelines are far less common and more volatile than natural gas lines.  While there are nearly 7,134 miles of natural gas transmission lines in Kentucky, there are only 38 miles of NGL pipeline.  A short stretch of NGL pipeline in Kentucky, only four inches in diameter, experienced a major explosion in 2004, destroying five homes and injuring nine people.

As the general public, lendors, and insurance underwriters become more aware of the dangers of hazardous liquids pipelines such as Bluegrass or when incidents begin occurring, they could revisit lending and underwriting policies.  Additionally, the property and neighboring property may lose value and usefulness for future generations who never receive any compensation.

the Proposed Bluegrass Pipeline:

we need your help now to pass House Bill 31 

Click Image below for Urgent Next Steps

There is not much time left to get House Bill 31 passed in the Senate. Please do the following to protect property rights:

  1.  Please call the legislative message line at  
    800-372-7181 and leave a message for "all Senate members" to "Protect property rights by voting FOR House Bill 31." The message line is open 7 a.m. - 11 p.m. Monday-Thursday, and until 6 p.m. on Friday.

  2. Contact your Senator and ask him or her to “support property rights by voting yes to HB 31 and asking leadership to bring up the bill.”  Find your Senator’s contact info here (denoted “Sen.”).
  3. Contact Senate President Robert Stivers and ask him to “support property rights by ensuring HB31 is quickly heard in committee and brought to the Senate floor for vote. 
  4. Contact Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer and ask him to “support property rights by ensuring HB31 is quickly heard in committee and brought to the Senate floor for vote.” 
  5. Contact Senator Whitney Westerfield, Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee and urge him to “bring HB 31 to committee this week and support its passage should the bill be assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee."
  6. Personally contact your friends and family across the state and ask them to do the same, so that every representative is hearing from his or her own constituents.


​get informed about permanent easements and Discuss issues with kentucky landowners

Any landowner should read this article and obtain legal advice before signing an easement. 

One of the best ways to involve residents along the proposed pipeline route is through direct door-to-door outreach and community meetings.  We've already developed some handouts to help you get started. 




Action Alert

A Bad Deal For America, Kentucky, and those who inherit our land