FRANKFORT — The Kentucky House has passed a bill that would prevent the builders of a proposed natural gas liquids pipeline from using eminent domain.
Lawmakers voted 75 to 16 in support of the measure, which is aimed at the Bluegrass Pipeline. The pipeline would cross a handful of Kentucky counties and carry the product of natural gas drilling in the northeast.
The bill only allows public utilities regulated by the state Public Service Commission to use eminent domain.
Debate in the House centered on whether the measure would prevent the pipeline from being built, and thus costing what supporters claim to be hundreds of new jobs.
State Rep.John Carney, the Republican whip from Campbellsville, said he would sell some of his land to support the project, but the dangers of a recent gas pipeline explosion in his district highlights the need for protecting property owners.
“I think it was about four weeks ago today that when I drove home to my district, one of my first stops was the small community of Knifely, Kentucky," Carney says, referring to a recent natural gas explosion.
"Looked like a bomb had exploded. Now again, I’ve said I would grant an easement to my land, and I wanna make sure that’s clear. But it does come down to whether an individual, I think, wants to make that private decision.”
The bill now heads to the Senate.