Midstream

LG&E secured key permit for natgas pipeline but challenges remain

LG&E

LG&E, Louisville Gas & Electric secured a key permit for its natural gas pipeline project that intends to cross through farms in Bullitt County, Kentucky, to serve the primary user, the Jim Beam bourbon makers. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approved the construction of the 12-mile pipeline.

The company said it now has all of major state and federal permits necessary for construction in its pocket; however, several challenges for the company to actually break grounds on the project remain.

“LG&E will begin construction of the project once it obtains all remaining land rights currently in litigation; completes a competitive bidding process and selects a contractor to perform the work; and obtains any remaining minor authorizations required closer to construction.” Said Natasha Collins, LG&E spokesperson.

As the current pipeline capacity of LG&E is currently run out, the company intends to build a second pipeline to improve reliability and to keep up with the demand growth in the area. Specifically for the Mt. Washington, Shepherdsville, Clermont, and Lebanon Junction region.

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LG&E still facing hurdles for its pipeline project

According to reports, the pipeline would run through Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest’s Cedar Grove Wildlife Corridor; as well as several other farms, to meet its primary customer the Beam Suntory.

However, on the proposed pipeline’s path, there are at least six major waterways connected to wetlands, and sinkholes. Consequently, those lands provide vital habitat for more than a half-dozen threatened or endangered species. Consequently, the pipeline has sparked opposition from environmental groups.

In fact, utility regulators first granted LG&E approval to build the pipeline in 2017. However, the project has faced several hurdles and lawsuits, and even with all permits in hand, it could still be years away from breaking ground on the pipeline. The most vocal opponents from the project have been Bernheim and the owners of seven tracts of land along the planned route.

Finally, Bernheim Forest conservation director, Andrew Berry, said. “The decisions that come from these cases will have long-lasting implications for future protection of conservation easements and deed restrictions on natural lands. They will also have long-lasting impacts on our environment, as we are now at a critical period where new infrastructure and energy solutions should minimize impacts to biodiversity and climate change.”

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