The pipeline's path

Notable Rowan County locations

Rowan's pipeline problem

By Lesley Garrett

On Sept. 29, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission the abandonment of the Tennessee Gas Pipeline, a key step in converting the pipeline to transport natural gas liquids. Built in 1944 and stretching about 11,800 miles to carry natural gas from South Texas to New York, the pipeline slices through Rowan county along its route.

Kinder Morgan, owner of the pipeline, submitted the request as part of their "Abandonment and Capacity Restoration Project," which involves selling the pipeline to its natural gas liquid project, the Utica Marcellus Texas Pipeline.

Opposition surfaced during the public comment period for abandonment, and Rowan County residents organized to fight the project.

Sue Tallichet, a professor of Sociology at Morehead State University, said the project created intense risk with no benefit, citing the volatility of NGLs, the age of the pipeline and the fact that it w0uld offer little job creation.

Tallichet and other Rowan county citizens are working with Kentuckians in other counties to set up zoning ordinances to block the project. Meanwhile, Kinder Morgan is not backing down. A company statement insists that there is “strong interest from for this opportunity to transport products from the Utica and Marcellus basins to the Gulf Coast.”

Many questions about the project remain.

U.S. liquid natural gas storage, in thousands of barrels

Kentucky's consumption and production of natural gas, in million cubic feet

Kentucky employment in extraction industry

Sources: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Kinder Morgan, news reports