BLANCO COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — In an opinion piece published Wednesday in the Houston Chronicle, Kinder Morgan CEO Steven Kean said rerouting the controversial Permian Highway Pipeline Project around the Blanco River is “the best option.”
Kean said the company “deeply regrets” an incident where the pipeline’s drilling operation lost 36,000 of drilling fluid east of Blanco, Texas in late March. Kean insists the company acted responsibly following the accident and “started working to make it right with the affected community immediately after it occurred.”
He said rerouting will add two miles of additional pipeline to the project and won’t require any deep drilling. He said the company has consulted with local officials, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Texas Railroad Commission to figure out alternatives, and he said the best one was to go around the Blanco River.
The Sierra Club, however, disagrees.
The environmental advocacy group said in a statement, “the pipeline’s new route will threaten new wildlife habitat and water crossings, compounding the damage already done by construction along the current route.”
“Landowners along the new route who were given little time to negotiate and threatened with eminent domain have already been notified that Kinder Morgan plans to break ground on their property as soon as this month,” the group’s press release said.
Wednesday, KXAN reported the City of Kyle issued Kinder Morgan a notice of noncompliance due to noise violations caused by the pipeline’s construction. KXAN’s Tahera Rahman spoke with residents in Kyle’s Post Oak neighborhood, and they measured the volume of the construction at over 100 decibels — at 5:30 a.m.
Kinder Morgan said they notified city and Hays County officials about what caused the loud noises, an inspection of a pipeline that used highly-compressed air, and the resulting venting of the air, and they are “working closely with them and concerned residents.”