Federal Judge Sides with Texas Natural Gas Pipeline Developer

The Houston Chronicle reported earlier this week that U.S. District Court Judge Robert Pitman has sided with Houston pipeline operator Kinder Morgan in a dispute over the construction of the Permian Highway Pipeline, a 430-mile pipeline to transport gas from the Permian Basin to U.S. Gulf Coast and Mexico consumer markets.

The Chronicle reports:

As part of a federal lawsuit, the cities of Austin and San Marcos, Hays and Travis counties, the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District and four landowners sought a preliminary injunction against the pipeline project which is being built through Texas Hill Country and over the Edwards Aquifer, an underground reservoir home to several threatened and endangered species of salamander, fish and insects.

Kinder Morgan has affirmed their commitment to environmental conservation and has assured regulators that the Permian Highway Pipeline project will fully comply with the Endangered Species Act. The pipeline has undergone a rigorous permitting and approval process, working with a number of state and federal regulatory agencies, including but not limited to the Texas Railroad Commission, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Furthermore, investment in natural gas infrastructure to transport record natural gas production from the Permian is welcome development. Once complete, the pipeline will be able to safely and efficiently transport 2 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day. As we have seen, increased access to natural gas for power generation is key to lowering carbon emissions.

As the economy bounces back from the COVID-19 crisis, it will be critical that the United States greenlight shovel-ready jobs and maintain a steady supply of domestically-produced natural gas and oil. The $2 billion project will support an estimated 2500 local construction jobs, generate approximately $42 million in annual tax revenue, and create new economic opportunities for Texans. While additional legal challenges play out in court, given these important contributions and role in safely delivering natural gas to consumers, the Permian Highway Pipeline must be able to move forward and ultimately come in to service to best serve American consumers.

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