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Pipeline possible through county


Landowners in northern Gonzales County might get a little windfall soon if plans for a new natural gas pipeline are realized.

Parent company Kinder Morgan Texas Pipeline LLC has dubbed the venture the Permian Highway Pipeline Project. The pipeline's projected route would enter the county line as it bisects Hwy. 304, continue to just south of Waelder crossing both U.S. 90 and I-10, and would exit near the borders of Fayette and Lavaca counties. The pipe would measure 42 inches in diameter and would run 18.4 miles across the county.

Currently, Kinder Morgan owns or operates 18 miles of existing Gonzales County pipeline, with 12.5 miles going to the KM Crude & Condensate Pipeline near Cheapside and the 5.5 mile Kinder Morgan Tejas Pipeline that cuts through the corner of the county northwest of Nixon. Company officials say that they paid $442,000 in state and local taxes last year for their local holdings.

The project is part of a much longer pipeline, designed to transport up to 2 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas through approximately 430 miles of pipe from the busy Permian Basin area near Coyanosa in West Texas to a terminal near the Gulf Coast where the product could be dispersed to shipping and Mexican markets. The cost for total construction is estimated at $2 billion.

Kinder Morgan says that the line will create an estimated 2,500 local construction jobs and 18 full-time, ongoing positions following construction. When complete, the new facilities could generate approximately $42 million of increased annual revenue to applicable state and local taxing bodies along the whole route, they claim.

The company is currently in the process of reaching out to landowners to acquire the right-of-way easements for the pipeline. Environmental surveys will continue through June 2019 and construction could begin by fall of next year. The proposed in-service date is for the fourth quarter of 2020.

Kinder Morgan is one of the largest energy infrastructure companies in North America, with interest and ownerships covering 85,000 miles of pipeline and 152 terminals. Texas alone hosts 26,000 miles of pipeline and 15 terminals. Products transported include gasoline, jet fuel, ethanol, and carbon dioxide.

The company has hit a couple of snags in recent years with other pipeline projects. A line running through New Hampshire was suspended in 2016 due to public concerns regarding the environment and property values. It was opposed by Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte. And earlier this year, the company sold its Trans Mountain Pipeline in Canada to the Canadian government after a judge halted the progress over a flawed regulatory process.