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Environmental Commission considers Permian Highway Pipeline

Thursday, June 13, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

On June 5, Sean Haynes, with the Texas Real Estate Advocacy and Defense Coalition, came to the Environmental Commission to bring the commission’s attention to the Permian Highway Pipeline that is planned to run from the Permian Basin to the coast of Texas and pass over the Edwards Aquifer in Kyle. “Generally pipelines have gone south of San Antonio or north of Georgetown,” Haynes noted. However, that convention is just a custom, as there is neither a state policy nor a process for routing pipelines. Instead of taking the conventional pathways, the Permian Highway Pipeline will go through more than 8,000 acres of planned development on its way to the coast, which Haynes said will not be a problem “until they blow up or leak, which is almost weekly.” In an effort to spark change in the process, TREAD, along with Hays County, the city of Kyle and three private landowners, filed a lawsuit against Kinder Morgan, which is designing the 430-mile-long, 42-inch-diameter pipeline route. The idea is to start requiring an approval process for oil and gas pipeline routes similar to the one used by the Public Utility Commission for energy transmission lines. The commissioners were divided on how to take action. “It’s pretty obvious there’s a real problem here,” said Commissioner Mary Ann Neely. “It would not be right for us not to get involved.” However, Commissioner Wendy Gordon said, “City Council can weigh in on this themselves.” Council has taken no public action on the matter. Since the subject was posted on the Environmental Commission’s agenda as an education topic, the commission decided to postpone action and instead formed a working group. They plan to deliver a resolution to City Council by the end of the month.

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