Steve Kean, CEO of pipeline developer Kinder Morgan, had an op-ed featured in the Houston Chronicle yesterday highlighting the critical need and benefits of the Permian Highway Pipeline, which once complete, will transport natural gas from the Permian Basin to consumer markets along the Gulf Coast.
Kean’s piece comes a day after musicians Willie Nelson and Paul Simon called for the pipeline project to be halted – quite the publicity stunt, but failing to acknowledge the inconvenient facts regarding the need for new energy infrastructure in Texas, the extensive pipeline permitting and public consultation processes for such projects, and the reality that pipelines like Permian Highway are the safest, most efficient, and most environmentally-conscious method of delivering the energy that millions of Americans rely on each day.
Our nation’s strong and reliable energy infrastructure network has been key to keeping critical manufacturing facilities, power plants, homes, and businesses supplied with affordable energy throughout the coronavirus pandemic and for decades prior. It is paramount that we continue to invest in that network with projects like Permian Highway.
Additionally, Kean highlights the safety, economic, and environmental benefits of Permian Highway, writing:
Pipelines are the safest way of transporting the energy we all need to sustain our economy and way of life. Unlike roads, rail lines and power lines, pipelines move this energy underground with the ground above restored following construction. The 810 miles of pipelines already operating in the Hill Country today include Kinder Morgan’s Hill Country Pipeline, which has operated safely for decades. Actually, we’d argue that the pipelines in the Hill Country are safer than some of the roads Texans travel routinely.
The Permian Highway Pipeline has provided more than 2,000 well-paying jobs. It will reduce wasteful and environmentally destructive flaring in West Texas and will benefit countless people in Texas and elsewhere. We have chosen the route carefully and paid landowners handsomely for the easements. We will restore the land when construction is complete and have secured significant additional lands for endangered species habitat. Shutting down the pipeline, as some have demanded, denies these benefits and sends over 2,000 workers home months ahead of the project’s anticipated completion early next year.
Kean also emphasizes the extensive public outreach that has been performed regarding the pipeline’s route, which included five public meetings as well as hundreds of additional meetings with individual landowners – resulting in over 150 individual adjustments to the proposed pipeline route based on feedback from landowners and the community.
Now, heeding feedback from community members and in close coordination with local officials, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Texas Railroad Commission, Kinder Morgan has continued to build on their commitment to safety and environmental conservation while meeting American energy needs by re-routing Permian Highway around the Blanco River.
As Kean concludes, now more than ever before, it is “important to focus on facts and not fear. Those facts bear out what we all know: landowners in Texas and across America have long lived in safe proximity to pipelines, enjoying the benefits of both affordable energy and a clean environment.”