Posts Tagged ‘environment’

Natural Gas in Kentucky and West Virginia

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

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.”

Sound familiar?

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.

Bluegrass Pipeline Project

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

A proposed underground pipeline that would transport flammable natural gas liquids through Kentucky has generated many questions among citizens along the planned route.

Two companies partnering on the project say the new pipeline would connect oil shale drilling areas of Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia to processing and storage facilities along the Gulf Coast. The so-called Bluegrass Pipeline would run more than 150 miles through 13 north-central Kentucky counties before joining an existing pipeline near Hardinsburg.

WEKU-FM will explore the proposal tomorrow morning at 11 on Eastern Standard with host John Hingsbergen. Eastern Standard is WEKU’s weekly public affairs program discussing topics of concern to central and southeastern Kentucky. Much like KET’s Kentucky Tonight, listeners can call with questions or comments during the show. WEKU’s number is 800-621-8890. You can also email them at wekueasternstandard@gmail.com, or post your questions on Facebook and Twitter.

A number of private citizens, city and county governments, and landowners are opposed to the pipeline. They’re not satisfied with answers they’ve received from the Williams Company and Boardwalk Pipeline Partners about the risk of accidents, damage to property and the environment, and injury to humans and animals. The companies have pledged to closely review the potential route as well as any safety and environmental concerns landowners have about the project.

One of the key questions in the pipeline debate is the issue of eminent domain. Last week, Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Len Peters told a panel of state lawmakers that developers have no authority to use eminent domain to acquire land for the pipeline route. Others disagree and the issue remains unresolved.

The pipeline project will also be the focus of the next Kentucky Tonight. Two of our guests will be environmental lawyer Tom Fitzgerald of the Kentucky Resources Council, who is opposed to the project, and Andrew McNeil of the Kentucky Oil and Gas Association, who supports the plan. The show will air Monday at 8 p.m. on KET. You can hear a replay of the program on our broadcast partner WEKU, Tuesday at 11 a.m.

Happy Birthday to the Peace Corps

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

The Peace Corps is 50-years old today.

The Peace Corps traces its roots and mission to 1960, when then Senator John F. Kennedy challenged students at the University of Michigan to serve their country in the cause of peace by living and working in developing countries. From that inspiration grew an agency of the federal government devoted to world peace and friendship.

Since that time, 200,000+ Peace Corps volunteers have served in 139 host countries to work on issues ranging from AIDS education to information technology and environmental preservation.

A few weeks ago on One to One, I sat down with Angene and Jack Wilson to talk about their service in the Peace Corps. Angene, professor emeritus of education at the University of Kentucky, served in Liberia from 1962-1964. Jack served in Liberia, too, and spent many years employed by the Peace Corps administration after his tour of duty.

They have written a new book, published by The University Press of Kentucky entitled Voices from the Peace Corps: Fifty Years of Kentucky Volunteers. The book focuses on six returned volunteers with strong Kentucky connections.

If you missed the interview when it initially aired, you can still watch my conversation with them online.


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