Kinder Morgan files motion to dismiss eminent domain lawsuit

Roughly a week after multiple parties filed suit against Kinder Morgan’s Permian Highway Pipeline (PHP), the Houston-based firm fought back by filing a motion to dismiss the claims, according to a press release.

The filing, submitted May 7, asked the judge in charge of the case for a summary judgement based on “ample reasons” for dismissal, according to Kinder Morgan officials. It is unknown at this time if a decision on the motion has been made.

According to the release, the plaintiffs, which include Hays County and the city of Kyle, assert “no wrongdoing” on the part of Kinder Morgan.

“In addition, they are demanding relief under a statute that does not create a right of action against a private party like PHP,” according to the release.

Kinder Morgan officials also said the lawsuit “ignores the fact” that the PHP’s eminent domain rights derive from the Texas Constitution and the Texas Legislature. Officials cited more than $14 billion in state and local taxes and state royalties were paid by the oil and natural gas industry.

“The lawsuit is a prime example of why eminent domain exists – to allow important infrastructure projects that provide significant public benefits,” according to the release. “Halting natural gas pipeline projects in the state would undercut the Texas economy and widespread community benefits.”

Kinder Morgan’s move comes after several entities joined the Texas Real Estate Advocacy and Defense (TREAD) coalition in a lawsuit against the company and the Texas Railroad Commission.

The suit, filed in late April in Travis County District Court, sought a temporary injunction to stop Kinder Morgan’s project, while also seeking more oversight from the Texas Railroad Commission on the way pipelines are routed.

Kinder Morgan’s request for summary judgement also comes as opposition continues to grow against the project.

On May 7, the Johnson City City Council unanimously passed a resolution opposing the PHP, a 430-mile, 42-inch underground natural gas pipeline that would stretch from far west Texas to the Houston area. The proposed pipeline route is expected to cut through the Texas Hill Country and could pass through Hays County.

Johnson City joins Kyle, San Marcos, Buda, Wimberley, Fredericksburg, as well as Hays and Gillespie counties, in passing resolutions opposing the project.

In a statement, TREAD representatives said they were not trying to halt pipelines, but create a more transparent process in how thoses lines are routed.

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