Texas Railroad Commission investigating Kinder Morgan for ‘multiple’ erosion complaints

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Texas Railroad Commission says they are investigating multiple complaints related to work on the Kinder Morgan natural gas pipeline.

The railroad commission said the complaints are regarding erosion control, and spokesperson R.J. DeSilva says “our investigation of the complaints is to ensure Kinder Morgan is in compliance with those commission rules.”

He said the complaints starting coming in May 13. Following severe weather on May 15 and 16, Myra Corbett, a landowner in Blanco County, said her land has been affected by runoff and erosion due to the pipeline. She said she and another Blanco County landowner filed complaints with the commission and said Kinder Morgan didn’t do enough to control erosion.

Mark Weiler, another landowner in Blanco County, said the same thing. Water from storms overtook portions of his land, and he places the blame on Kinder Morgan.

“When they saw the video that the water was just spilling over this little area… they came and doubled up on the hay and the tarps,” Corbett says.

Myra Corbett says storm water runoff since pipeline construction began on her property has been muddy. (KXAN/Tahera Rahman)

But since Kinder Morgan crews installed additional measures about two weeks ago, another rain washed them out, again.

“We just knew that we would wake up to a disaster and we did,” Corbett says.

Muddy trails indicate the path of that second flooding.

“It starts accumulating until it’s almost like a dam. Until it gets to the point where it goes to the weakest point and it breaks through,” Corbett explains.

Kinder Morgan vice president Allen Fore says affected landowners should also reach out directly to the company.

“I encourage her to reach out to us,” he says.

Fore also says they now have dedicated personnel to erosion control.

“We’ve added additional crews to address specific concerns of landowners and also to be proactive to areas we haven’t heard of any issues but could be prone to issues related to heavy rains,” he says.

As she braces herself for a third hit of rain, Corbett wants answers from legislators and regulators, as well.

“I feel like they’re all guilty and responsible for what’s going to happen. This is just a shadow of things to come,” she says.

The Texas Railroad Commission says their investigation process includes reviewing complaint information and conducting field inspections to determine if the storm water runoff related to pipeline construction is polluting surface or ground water. They say there are no final results right now and don’t have a timeline.

Kinder Morgan was given a notice of violation for a drilling incident on the Blanco River in March, and the pause in construction is specific to that site.

This month’s severe weather has pushed many Blanco County landowners to file erosion control complaints against Kinder Morgan. The Texas Railroad Commission says there is no timeline yet on their investigations. (KXAN/Tahera Rahman)

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