On the heels of President Donald Trump signing an executive order banning travel from seven Muslim-majority countries, a pipeline project that would transport natural gas from the Alberta tar sands to the Gulf Coast is facing a backlash from local landowners who fear that the controversial project could undermine their property rights.
The pipeline, which is being built to transport natural-gas from the Gulf of Mexico to refineries along the Gulf coast, is being dubbed the “Gulf South Pipeline.”
Its main goal is to carry natural gas to the Texas Gulf Coast.
The project’s opponents, including landowners, say the pipeline is destroying their property by flooding their property and creating a dangerous environmental risk.
Critics of the project include Texas ranchers, who fear the project will strip them of their land, and environmental groups, who worry that it will damage their drinking water supplies.
In a statement released Tuesday, Kinder Morgan said that while it was aware of the backlash, it “does not believe it is in the public interest to proceed with the project.”
“Kinder Morgan believes it is more important to work with landowners to ensure that the project is built to meet the needs of those landowners, not the needs for a foreign company,” the statement said.
The statement was in response to a letter signed by more than 200 landowners, including some who have said they would not move if the project went ahead.
The letter says the project would be “unlikely to result in significant impacts to our property rights and would not adversely impact downstream development of the Texas Coast.”
It also cites studies that show the pipeline would have a “negative environmental impact” and could be “more hazardous than a natural gas pipeline.”
The landowners also say the project has no environmental impact and “would have the effect of exacerbating the existing land use conflicts in Texas and in the Gulf South region.”
The letter to the state’s attorney general also says that the company is not complying with environmental-impact statements and that “the pipeline would likely adversely affect the health of residents and wildlife.”
The oil company, however, says the landowner backlash is “an unfortunate byproduct of the environmental process.”
“The project is a significant contributor to our country’s economic development, with hundreds of thousands of direct jobs, and hundreds of billions of dollars in tax revenues annually,” Kinder Morgan spokesman Chris Nelson said in a statement.
“This is not a pipeline that will create economic or environmental benefits.
The Gulf South Pipeline is an environmentally sound project that will generate thousands of jobs and generate hundreds of millions of dollars for Texas and our nation.”
The company has also expressed its support for the project and said it will “continue to work closely with landowners, the public, and our partners to address their concerns.”
The pipeline’s backers, however — including the state of Texas — have said the project’s environmental impact studies are flawed and that there is no credible evidence that the pipeline will be safe for human or wildlife.
“The pipeline is not only a massive and risky project, but it’s one that could cause significant impacts on the Texas coast and our drinking water resources,” state Rep. John Brooks said in March.
“I’m disappointed that a company that’s been working with landowners and the Texas public for years is now rushing ahead with this project that I believe will create a disaster for the entire Gulf Coast.”