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Hays County revokes permits for Kinder Morgan pipeline

Thursday, April 23, 2020 by Mose Buchele, KUT

The Hays County Commissioners Court has revoked permits it issued allowing Kinder Morgan’s Permian Highway pipeline project to bore under county roads.

The move is the most recent flare-up in a long-standing battle between Hill Country landowners, local governments and the pipeline company.

Hays County took the action Tuesday after a pipeline accident in neighboring Blanco County. A crew boring under the Blanco River released drilling fluid into the watershed, which landowners say contaminated their well water.

Hays County Commissioner Walt Smith said commissioners pulled the permits to ensure the same thing doesn’t happen there.

“Until they can figure out what the process is and why it happened and what, specifically, their contractor did, we just want them to pause,” Smith told KUT.

Opponents of the natural gas pipeline have long contended the Hill Country’s unique karst geology, which allows liquids to flow easily into the local aquifer, makes it an unsuitable place to build.

The Blanco County drilling accident is also now the subject of a lawsuit between Kinder Morgan and local watershed groups. It’s one of the many suits filed by local landowners and governments to stop the project.

This story was produced as part of the Austin Monitor’s reporting partnership with KUT.

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