Kyle ordinance protects against pipeline incidents

The city of Kyle has approved an ordinance that protects the city and residents from damages and disasters that could be incurred by the installation of oil and natural gas pipelines.

Just more than a month after joining a lawsuit against Kinder Morgan’s Permian Highway Pipeline, Kyle city leaders have passed the Oil and Gas Pipeline Building Ordinance that creates a set of rules and regulations for any and all pipelines built within Kyle’s city limits.

“If the city has a high-pressure gas pipeline that runs through it, especially one that has a large diameter, there is a real danger to residences and buildings,” said Kyle City Manager Scott Sellers. “We are trying to protect our residents from any sort of potential threat.”

The ordinance states that the city “recognizes the need to continue to regulate certain aspects of oil and gas pipeline activity as well as development in and around hazardous pipelines in order to preserve and protect the public health, safety, and welfare, and to preserve the quality of life and property values.”

Pipelines will be restricted from being placed too close to existing utilities and the pipeline’s operators will be responsible for any damages to existing utility line incurred as a result of the pipeline’s existence. Additionally, the ordinance states that buried pipelines may be no less that 13 feet below the ground’s surface.

Other regulations provided within the ordinance state regulations for timelines to be followed for pipeline operators.

Kyle Mayor Travis Mitchell presented and called for a motion on the ordinance May 14 during a special called city council meeting. The ordinance was unanimously approved with a 4-0 vote.

Before drafting the final ordinance, the council said they consulted with property owners in the city and made amendments to the final draft. The ordinance does not specifically address the Kinder Morgan PHP pipeline, but addresses any and all third-party oil and gas pipeline interested in constructing in and through Kyle.

Should the Kinder Morgan PHP pipeline move through its several lawsuits, it is the only pipeline moving into Hays County in the foreseeable future. The pipeline is planned to be 430 miles spanning from east to west across Texas and will pipe natural gas to western parts of Texas.

Kinder Morgan is attempting to claim land across Texas and within Kyle using eminent domain, with the idea that the pipeline is necessary and a priority over property rights.

Regardless of the need for the pipeline, Kyle leaders have gone on record that they have concerns for safety in regard to the Kinder Morgan PHP pipeline and pipelines in general.

“Pipelines can experience leaks and bursts,” Sellers said. “We want to make sure our residents are protected.”

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