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Eminent Domain Measure Fails to Pass this Legislative Session

Legislative Research Commission

It appears condemnation issues related to a natural gas liquids pipeline project in Kentucky will be left up to the judicial system. 

Some residents living along the proposed route of the Bluegrass Pipeline had sought legislative clarification of eminent domain law.  

Senate President Robert Stivers believes the matter should stay in the courts for now.

"Until the courts deal with it, we think it's inappropriate for the legislature to get involved," said Stivers. 

Kentucky Resources Council Director Tom Fitzgerald agrees the bill in its current form is less than ideal.

"Unless House Bill 31 can come through with just the committee substitute, which just clarifies that natural gas liquids are not oil and gas and leaves the other issues for the courts, unless that would be the outcome, then I think the Senate not taking action on the House passed version is probably the better thing for landowners," said Fitzgerald. 

Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd ruled last week the Bluegrass Pipeline can't seize property from private property owners under the current eminent domain law.  

If appealed by the company, Fitzgerald says he looks forward to defending the ruling.

Stu Johnson is a reporter/producer at WEKU in Lexington, Kentucky.
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