Associated Press Reporter Bruce Schreiner has an interesting article from West Virginia about an idea that’s also been floated in eastern Kentucky.
Schreiner’s report says the president of the West Virginia Senate wants to create an oil and natural gas trust fund to support core government functions in the future. Long after oil and gas reserves are depleted, Senator Jeff Kessler believes the trust fund could “buoy an Appalachian mountain state chronically vexed by poverty, joblessness, and cycles of boom and bust.”
It’s an idea that many Kentuckians say we should consider here – a re-examination of the coal severance tax, and how counties receiving those funds use the money.
We explored gas, natural, and natural gas liquids (NGLs) on Monday’s edition of Kentucky Tonight as we discussed the proposed Bluegrass Pipeline. That project would connect oil shale drilling areas of Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia to processing and storage facilities along the Gulf Coast. Along the way, the Bluegrass Pipeline would traverse 13 north-central Kentucky counties.
The proposal has generated significant opposition. Amy Boone of Louisville emailed our show to ask a question of Bill Lawson, director of corporate development for Williams, one of two companies partnering on the project. Amy writes:
“I wonder how many landowners would be hesitant to sell access easements to their own neighbors, in part because it could impact property value. The Bluegrass Pipeline website indicates that pipeline easements have had no measurable effect on property values. However, I know of landowner along the proposed route who was told by a land agent that he would be compensated for property devaluation. Also, a recent Texas Supreme Court case awarded remainder damages to a property owner for his land being devalued by a natural gas pipeline. How do you think about the impact of NGL pipelines on property values, and how do you figure this into landowner compensation? Also, given that your easements are permanent, do you build future land appreciation into your valuation methodology?”
One of our guests, Versailles attorney Brad Slutskin, raised some additional concerns. Andrew McNeil, executive director of the Kentucky Oil and Gas Association, responded and touted the economic benefits of the pipeline if it is routed through the Commonwealth:
For those interested in more information on the pipeline project, the Williams Company offers the website bluegrasspipeline.com. One of the groups raising concerns about the proposal is stopbluegrasspipeline.us.