Conservation district joins lawsuit over proposed natural gas pipeline through Hays County

Hays
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HAYS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — The Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District is now a plaintiff in a lawsuit against a proposed natural gas pipeline through Hays County.

The BSEACD board of directors voted Friday to join the lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Kinder Morgan that claims violations against the Endangered Species Act.

The Permian Highway Pipeline should not be in a hydrologically-sensitive area, within the district or otherwise, the board said.

“Ensuring the endangered aquatic species of the aquifer continue to thrive ensures the water resource will remain viable for the people that depend on it,” said Craig Smith, vice president of the board.

The board said Kinder Morgan is attempting to avoid steps needed to “fully mitigate the impact of pipeline construction and operation to the aquifers and endangered species of the area.”

They said the pipeline cuts through the habitat of the Barton Springs and Austin Blind salamanders, which are both endangered species. It also goes through the Edwards and Trinity aquifers, which supply drinking water to more than 2 million people, the board said.

Kinder Morgan already has been ordered to pay Blanco County landowners more than $3 million over the pipeline. The pipeline is 430 miles long, and would carry natural gas through a 42-inch wide tube from west Texas to the Houston suburb of Katy.

Kinder Morgan filed a lawsuit against the city of Kyle for a pipeline safety ordinance that the city passed in July.

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