People packed a third-floor courtroom in downtown Austin Tuesday as a judge heard arguments related to a pipeline proposed to run through parts of the Hill Country.
Kinder Morgan, the pipeline company, and the Texas Railroad Commission are trying to dismiss a lawsuit related to the state’s eminent domain process. Hays County, the City of Kyle and three landowners sued them, concerned about oversight. The plaintiffs are hoping the judge rules that a process needs to be put in place to ensure oversight just as other industries in Texas (the electric industry, for example) have when it comes to new development. They also feel that other routes would be more appropriate for the pipeline to go through.
The Permian Highway Pipeline would carry natural gas from West Texas to Katy, and Kinder Morgan and others have been working for months to determine the exact route.
The courtroom Tuesday was packed and standing-room-only most of the day, a majority of the people in the room appeared to be concerned Hays County residents whose audible laughter, groans, and gasps could be heard in response to the court proceedings.
At issue, in this case, is not just to this specific pipeline, but also what oversight generally the Texas Railroad Commission should have over pipeline development under the state constitution.
The parties involved appear to have very different views about how the discussion around this pipeline is going. Many of the landowners who testified say Kinder Morgan hasn’t properly addressed their concerns.