Wimberley OK’s resolution opposing pipeline route

Two weeks after tabling a resolution opposing Kinder Morgan’s Permian Highway Pipeline, Wimberley city leaders Thursday opted to craft their own version that differs from neighboring jurisdictions.

The resolution, approved by a 4-0 vote, substantially cut portions that had been included in versions approved by Kyle, San Marcos, Woodcreek and Hays County elected officials in recent weeks. Council member Allison Davis and Mayor Susan Jaggers were absent from the meeting.

Cuts included taking out line items that questioned the lack of state oversight in the construction of pipelines.

“We’re not against the pipeline, we’re against the route,” said Wimberley council member Craig Fore. “So, we want to get them (Kinder Morgan) to come to the table and negotiate a different route. That’s the purpose of this resolution.”

Wimberley leaders first discussed the possibility of a resolution Feb. 21. That original resolution, brought forward by Davis, mirrored versions that had been passed by other governmental entities. The original resolution, however, was unpopular with several city council members.

On Feb. 21, newly appointed councilmember Erik Wollam questioned the city’s intent to pass a resolution. Wollam said the pipeline was a county and state issue and was not prudent to Wimberley. Mayor Pro Tem Gary Barchfeld, as well as Fore and council member Mike McCullough, echoed those concerns, which led council to table the item.

A new resolution, drafted by Fore and Barchfeld, was unanimously supported by the council on Thursday.

Barchfeld said he has spoken with local county leaders and Kinder Morgan executives about the logistics of the pipeline during the past few weeks.

“Barchfeld and I wrote our own resolution. We thought it was less accusatory and Kinder Morgan would be more likely to negotiate with us,” Fore said. “That’s why there are two resolutions on the agenda. Davis’ and ours.”

The approved resolution did not include requesting immediate action by the Texas Legislature to protect landowners and property rights from the impact of the pipeline and other potential projects.

Additionally, the new resolution eliminated a line item scrutinizing the process of eminent domain for common carriers in the state and did not include issues surrounding a lack of research from Kinder Morgan. Wimberley’s version also didn’t include language addressing a lack of opportunity for landowners to be participants in the pipeline routing process.

Wollam said the new resolution was short, concise and appropriate as it addresses some of the concerns he had two weeks ago.

But patience was wearing thin for some Wimberley residents who pleaded for city leaders to pass a resolution after the discussion turned cold Feb. 21.

Kathy Marcus, a homeowner along the Blanco River, said she was surprised to discover at a Kinder Morgan open house meeting the pipeline could be “a scant 5,000-feet north” of her house.

Marcus asked council to pass a resolution, fearful that the pipeline could be detrimental to the Blanco River, as well as to aquifers and the geography in Hays County.

“Wimberley has worked hard to protect its residents, visitors and resources. We, at the very least, can pass this resolution before you,” Marcus said. “…And in this David and Goliath fight, we hope that we will win.”

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