August 2019, Vol. 246, No. 8


Court Clears Path for Kinder Morgan’s Permian Highway Pipeline

A lawsuit challenging Texas’ pipeline approval process was dismissed by a judge, clearing the way for Kinder Morgan to continue its construction of a 430-mile natural gas pipeline from the Permian Basin to the Gulf Coast.

The lawsuit, which was brought by a group of landowners seeking to halt construction of Kinder Morgan’s 42-inch Permian Highway Pipeline (PHP) project, challenged a state licensing process that lets pipeline companies determine their own routes and acquire land without landowners’ consent.

Travis County District Court Judge Lora Livingston wrote that the Texas Railroad Commission is not required to set standards for pipeline routes or the use of eminent domain to take private land for public good, as allowed under state law for operators that qualify as utilities.

“The court finds no authority for the proposition that the legislature has granted authority to the commission to oversee the rights granted,” she wrote.

Houston-based Kinder Morgan, which held that the eminent domain process is essential to ensuring no single landowner can block critical infrastructure for the project, cheered the ruling. P&GJ

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