Pipeline gets go-ahead
Construction on the controversial Permian Highway Pipeline has entered Gillespie County. Work began last week at the intersection of Ranch Road 1623 and Maenius Road.
Other pipeline watchers have said stakes are placed elsewhere along the route, which will cross 185 property easements over 45 miles traversing the county from west to east.
Last week, pipeline opponents received more bad news when a temporary restraining order seeking to halt or delay construction was denied in federal district court in Austin. That order had been filed by the City of Austin and other municipalities and county governments along its route. (Neither the City of Fredericksburg nor Gillespie County joined that plaintiff’s request.)
The denial of the motion means Kinder Morgan, which is constructing the pipeline, may proceed with construction while the merits of the lawsuit proceed in court.
Kinder Morgan, which is constructing the pipeline, has reportedly settled with most landowners along its route and some condemnation hearings had begun for those who did not settle with the entity.
TREAD Coalition, which sought to derail or move the pipeline project, expressed frustration with the ruling. It has faulted state lawmakers for allowing the pipeline company to skirt rules involving the National Environmental Policy Act.
“TREAD Coalition and its supporters see a multitude of problems, both legal and scientific, with the route Kinder Morgan has chosen through the Hill Country,” said Jessica Karlsruher, executive director. “The Endangered Species Act is only one small part of the problem.”
“Texans deserve a public process, at both the state and federal levels, to weigh the value of PHP against the impacts on our land and communities,” she said. “Before irreversible harm is done to our beautiful Hill Country landscape, the safety of our families, our economic plans, the environment and our aquifers, the public should be brought into the process and allowed to scrutinize the science and offer their valuable perspectives.”
“Kinder Morgan executives should not have the unilateral power to decide where to build an industrial highway that affects thousands of landowners and dozens of communities,” Karlsruher said.