Bullitt County pipeline opponents talk appeal after legal setback

Published: May. 21, 2021 at 6:48 PM EDT
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A map showing the route (in blue) of the proposed LG&E natural gas pipeline that would run...
A map showing the route (in blue) of the proposed LG&E natural gas pipeline that would run through part of Bernheim Forest in northern Bullitt County.(Source: LG&E)
John Cox, attorney for the landowners.
John Cox, attorney for the landowners.(Source: Michael Williams, WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) – Property owners fighting a proposed LG&E natural gas pipeline in Bullitt County suffered a legal setback. A judge ruled the LG&E pipeline project, which would serve Jim Beam operations and new development in the county, can go forward.

“What was the primary purpose for the project?” attorney John Cox, representing landowners asked. “And I don’t think there’s any doubt when you look at the evidence, that the primary purpose of this was for Jim Beam.”

The Bullitt Circuit Court decision only partially agreed. Judge Rodney Burress wrote, “There is no question that Jim Beam stands to benefit greatly from this pipeline project. …Nevertheless, the Court finds this project would undoubtedly serve the broader public in addition to greatly benefiting Jim Beam.”

Property owner Kimberly Brown said the pipeline would negatively impact farming and future development of her the property.

“The idea that this is for a broader public use is ridiculous,” Brown said. “It’s two private interests colluding to take private land from tax paying, working farm, US farm families.”

The corporation that owns Jim Beam declined to comment on the ruling.

In a statement, Natasha Collins, Director of LG&E Media Relations said, “The Bullitt Circuit Court order issued Tuesday found that LG&E has the right to condemn the properties at issue and is authorized to take possession of the easements for purposes of constructing and operating the Bullitt County pipeline, after payment of the compensation awarded by the Commissioners.”

“LG&E continues to pursue the remaining permits and authorizations necessary to begin construction, including permits required by Army Corps of Engineers and the KY Division of Water,” Collins said.

The path of the proposed LG&E natural gas pipeline runs from eastern Bullitt County to I-65.

In addition to impacting property of homeowners along the way, it cuts through a piece of Bernheim Forest which has its own lawsuit pending.

Bernheim officials did not comment on the case.

“Hopefully the Court of Appeals recognizes our arguments and appreciates where we are and kills the project,” Cox said. “That could happen anywhere from six months to years from now. So I think there’s years before this project gets off the ground if it gets off the ground at all.”

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