Judge says Bluegrass Pipeline developer can't use eminent domain - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Judge says Bluegrass Pipeline developer can't use eminent domain

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FRANKFORT, KY (WAVE) - A Franklin County judge ruled Tuesday that the Bluegrass Pipeline's developers can't take land to build the planned line.

"The transportation of hazardous liquids interstate through Kentucky to the Gulf Coast does not justify granting a private company the right to condemn private property," Circuit Court Judge Phillip Shepherd wrote in his decision.

The state legislature would need to give Williams Co. and Boardwalk Pipeline Partners the ability to use eminent domain, which is normally reserved for government use, Shepherd said.

The two companies have asserted their right to use eminent domain as a last resort if they can't negotiate a purchase agreement with landowners. Legislation that has passed the House and sits in the Senate would ban the company from condemning land.

The companies disagree with the decision and plan to appeal immediately, said Tom Droege, a spokesman for Tulsa, Okla.-based Williams.

Meanwhile, the companies will continue with purchase negotiations. They've acquired nearly 70 percent of the land needed to build the pipeline's projected route through Kentucky, Droege said.

The companies are planning to open the pipeline in mid-to-late 2016 to connect natural gas liquid producers in the Northeast with an existing line that will carry the liquid to the Gulf of Mexico.

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