Louisville Metro Council passes resolution opposing gas pipeline through Bernheim Forest

A resolution passed in Metro Council on Thursday night urges Louisville Gas & Electric to stop...
A resolution passed in Metro Council on Thursday night urges Louisville Gas & Electric to stop legal efforts to seize land from Bernheim Forest.
Published: Apr. 14, 2023 at 12:06 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A resolution passed in Metro Council on Thursday night urges Louisville Gas & Electric to stop legal efforts to seize land from Bernheim Forest for use to install a new natural gas pipeline.

Bernheim Forest said it is looking to appeal a recent ruling from a Bullitt Circuit Court judge granting LG&E the ability to exercise eminent domain for property going through Bernheim’s Cedar Grove wildlife corridor.

Metro Council voted 17 to 5 on Thursday for a resolution opposing LG&E’s plans for eminent domain seizure of the land to construct the 12-mile natural gas pipeline across Bullitt County.

Bernheim Forest supporters argued that the pipeline would destroy a significant amount of forest and would negatively impact wildlife living in the area.

“The Louisville community has made clear that Bernheim is a unique resource, beloved by Kentuckians for its unparalleled commitment to connecting people with nature and for protecting our regional environment,” councilwoman Betsy Ruhe said. “I am opposed to any development in this forest that threatens its natural lands, clean water, and biodiversity. It needs to be defended.”


LG&E said the new pipeline is being built to benefit Bullitt County residents since the county currently operates on a single gas pipeline.

If the new pipeline doesn’t get constructed and the current pipeline goes out, thousands of customers could be left without heat, LG&E previously said.

The utility company said it already has easements for nine of the 12 proposed miles for the pipeline with Bernheim as the only holdout.

Metro Council’s resolution also recommends LG&E seek alternatives for the proposed pipeline, including infrastructure that would deliver carbon-free sustainable energy and promoting efficiency programs that reduce fossil fuel consumption.

LG&E provided a statement on Friday regarding the resolution, stating the company plans on moving forward toward construction:

“While we can appreciate everyone’s right to freely express their views, LG&E’s position remains that this pipeline — approved by our regulator, the Kentucky Public Service Commission in 2017 and outside the jurisdiction of Metro Louisville and any of its elected representatives — is necessary for the reliability of natural gas service to the approximately 9,500 customers depending on service from the single existing high pressure distribution line in this area of Bullitt County as well as to increase capacity in order to serve the rapid growth in this area. Our customers in Bullitt County deserve the same access to reliable natural gas that our customers have in Jefferson County, including members of metro council who supported this resolution. Much careful thought and consideration was given to the route chosen, including the easement needed from Bernheim, which is less than .028% of Bernheim’s 16,000 acres; in an area not open to the public; and along the path of an existing non-LG&E transmission line. We plan to continue moving toward construction of the line, which will enable us to provide service for the more than 600 requests that have been deferred since the pipeline has been at capacity.”