House Committee OKs Bill Clarifying Eminent Domain Law

Feb 26, 2014

A state House committee has approved a bill that would prevent the Bluegrass Pipeline developers from using eminent domain to acquire land.

Eminent domain hearing draws crowd at the Capitol.
Credit Josh James / WUKY

With a packed house looking on, the House Judiciary Committee approved House Bill 31, which supporters say clarifies Kentucky law by prohibiting the use of eminent domain for pipelines carrying natural gas liquids or NGLs.

"This has really been a bipartisan effort. We've had really strong support from Sen. Higdon, Rep. Floyd, Rep. Tilly, who's been wonderful, to try to pull everybody together because this really is an issue that resonates all across the political spectrum," said Tom Fitzgerald with the Kentucky Resources Council.

The panel heard from several land owners who testified that Bluegrass Pipeline representatives have informed them condemnation could still be used “as a last resort.” Cindy Foster of Scott County told lawmakers her property rights are being threatened.

"If it were gas or water, something I could benefit from, I wouldn't be here. But how can I benefit from natural gas liquids?" she asked the committee.

Pipeline supporters have argued the project will bring jobs to the state, along with $136 million in new taxes over the next ten years.

Bill sponsors caution that, even if approved by the General Assembly, the legislation would not necessarily quash the project, as 70 percent of the land has already been acquired.

The measure now moves to the House for consideration.