Kinder Morgan graphic
Lawsuit against Kinder Morgan dismissed by court
Judge Lora Livingston with the 261st State District Court dismissed a lawsuit Tuesday against the Permian Highway Pipeline Project, which will pass through Hays County.
The pipeline, a Kinder Morgan Texas Pipeline investment, will transport natural gas approximately 430 miles from Waha, Texas to the Katy area. The nonprofit advocacy group Texas Real Estate Advocacy and Defense Coalition (TREAD) funded the lawsuit against the project and was joined by the City of Kyle, Hays County and a coalition of land owners.
The coalition filed suit against Kinder Morgan, the Permian Highway Pipeline and the Texas Railroad Commission, which is involved in the approval and oversight of the project.
The lawsuit was filed on April 22 and a hearing from both sides took place in late May. Following weeks of review, Livingston decided to drop the suit against Kinder Morgan and the Texas Railroad Commission.
The suit sought to stop the exercise of private eminent domain against unwilling landowners and requested the Railroad Commission “adopt administrative rules, policies, and practices that provide objective, enforceable standards for the exercise of eminent domain authority.”
The pipeline, which is set to begin construction this fall, is expected to generate 2,500 local construction and 18 full-time jobs and will cost approximately $2 billion.
In a statement released by Kinder Morgan, Tom Martin, president of Natural Gas Pipelines for the company, said, “The court’s finding validates the process established in Texas for the development of natural gas utility projects, as well as the steps we have taken to comply with that process. We will continue to engage all stakeholders as we work to complete PHP.”
The proposed route of the pipeline will pass through several residential areas in the city of Kyle, “resulting in significant impacts to the health, safety, and economic development of the community,” according to the lawsuit.
“We are saddened by the ruling, but are nonetheless resolved to keep up the fight,” Kyle Mayor Travis Mitchell said. “We will regroup to consider our next options and will move forward from there.”
TREAD released a statement saying it plans to challenge the decision.
"We respect but disagree with Judge Livingston's ruling,” TREAD stated. “We continue to believe the Texas constitution does not allow for the delegation of this awesome power to a private company without oversight. This issue should be heard by an appellate court. We are weighing our options for an appeal and planning additional legal actions in other venues to challenge this severely problematic route.”
Kinder Morgan, which “owns an interest in or operates approximately 84,000 miles of pipelines and 157 terminals,” said the project is expected to produce $1 billion dollars in additional revenue for the state and local taxing bodies.
“Additionally, individual leaseholders are projected to receive more than $2 billion per year in new oil and natural gas royalties,” the company said in a press release.