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The clearing for the pipeline began in Wimberley earlier this year. This photo was taken at the corner of Ranch Road 12 and Old Oaks Ranch. Photos by John Brown/Big Ingen Media via Wimberley View

Permian Highway Pipeline hits roadblock as county rescinds permits

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Hays County rescinded county road permits which allowed Kinder Morgan to install its Permian Highway Pipeline. 

The Hays County Commissioners Court voted Tuesday following executive session to immediately rescind the permits which allowed Kinder Morgan to cut through and drill underneath county roads. 

Precinct 3 Commissioner Lon Shell said the motion is meant to prevent polluted groundwater wells which occurred in Blanco County when horizontal directional drilling damaged karst features and caused drilling fluids to enter the groundwater. 

“My concern is especially for western Hays County because if karst features were impacted by boring it could take significant rainfall before contaminants are noticed in our groundwater,” Shell said in a statement. “I believe the pipeline company needs to better understand where various karst features are in order to protect our natural resources.”

Kinder Morgan Vice President for Public Affairs Allen Fore said the company wasn’t aware that the county was going to make the move it did, however, Kinder Morgan wants to be in full compliance of what Hays County is requesting. 

“It appears from our initial conversations with (county) staff that there may be additional information that is being asked for,” Fore told the Daily Record. “So, we’re going to work with them on providing that. I think commissioner Shell indicated that this is a pause in the process and we’re certainly considering it that.”

The county’s motion requires the road permits to be rescinded until Kinder Morgan complies with the Texas Railroad Commission’s Notice of Violation for the damage in Blanco County and until the company is able to provide a plan for moving forward that will prevent further impact to ground and surface water.

Additionally, Shell is asking that Kinder Morgan provide a detailed geology report for each of its proposed road crossings in Hays County to determine whether the site is underlaid by karst. According to Kinder Morgan, the crossings affected by the county’s decision are located at Pump Station Road (CR218), Mt. Sharp Road (CR220) and Ledgerock Road (CR244). 

Fore said work will not be happening in those areas but pipeline construction in the county will continue in other locations. 

“It depends on where we are at a certain time (regarding) the construction the public would see,” Fore said. “But there will be other construction activities going on in Hays County but not at these crossings.”

San Marcos Record

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