Kinder Morgan says it’s got the permits to start Permian Highway Pipeline construction

Texas

BLANCO, Texas (KXAN) — Kinder Morgan has a clear path for its massive pipeline that cuts through the Hill Country.

The company tells KXAN they have permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

An attorney involved in two lawsuits against the company says right now, there is no court order stopping them from construction but says there’s still a legal effort to halt the pipeline from moving forward.

“Very, very depressing,” says Brenda Freed.

She and other members of the Blanco Stop the Pipeline group have been trying to block the company.

“It’s hard because Blanco Stop the Pipeline has worked very hard to get the word out that this is coming but unfortunately until people see the devastation, that’s what it takes to wake people up,” Freed says.

Last month, a federal judge ruled that Kinder Morgan would need to clear land for its 431-mile natural gas pipeline outside of nesting season for the Golden-Cheeked Warbler, which runs from March through July.

“There’s the issuance of the permits and then the actual process of complying with the permits and following through and following up and that’s really where we are now,” says Allen Fore, Kinder Morgan vice president.

That clearing order was part of a bigger federal lawsuit that includes the cities of Austin and San Marcos. They are suing the company over the pipeline’s potential impact on endangered species.

Until that trial happens, attorney Clark Richards says they’re now asking the court to order a stop to all pipeline construction in Blanco, Kimble, Gillespie and Hays counties.

That motion was filed last week.

“Our only hope is through the court system, one way or another,” says Freed.

There is another federal lawsuit against Kinder Morgan.

It argues that all the feeder lines going in and out of the Permian Highway Pipeline could eventually mean the operation crosses state lines.

If that’s the case, federal regulations would require hearings before the company can claim eminent domain.

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