LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A proposed pipeline that would carry flammable liquids through north and central Kentucky wouldn’t cross into land owned by a group of Catholic nuns that has been outspokenly opposed to it, a pipeline company spokesman said last week.
The Bluegrass Pipeline would stay north of Marion County, which is home to the Sisters of Loretto’s 780-acre property, said Tom Droege, a spokesman for Williams Co. of Tulsa, Okla.
“Now that the route is becoming more defined, we are confident we will stay well to the north of Marion County,” Droege said in an email.
The sisters earlier this year had refused to let surveyors onto their property, saying the land was sacred and that they would oppose the construction.
The new 500-mile pipeline, being built by Williams Co. and Boardwalk Pipeline Partners of Houston, would join an existing transmission line in Breckinridge County that runs to the Gulf of Mexico.
As currently proposed, the pipeline would pass near land owned by the Abbey of Gethsemani in Nelson County, which is next to Marion County. Droege said the company is looking for a route around the monks’ land as well, since they also have not granted permission to do a survey. No one answered a telephone call to the abbey Wednesday.
The company is “looking at other options, including alternative routes,” Droege said. He said more than 90 percent of landowners along the proposed pipeline route have granted survey permission.
The 50-foot-wide easements would be acquired with one-time payments to the landowners, based on a property appraisal.
“They’re not coming through here because we said no,” Peg Jacobs, who has lived at the Loretto Motherhouse for 14 years, said Wednesday. She said the sisters would continue to oppose the pipeline, wherever the proposed route goes.
The sisters have joined landowners and environmentalists in public protests against the pipeline, saying it presents a chemical leak risk.