FREDERICKSBURG, Texas (FOX 7 Austin) - A district judge ruled in favor of Kinder Morgan building a pipeline slated to run across the Hill Country. Landowners and local government officials filed suit against the construction of the pipeline back in April.
Judge Lora Livingston of the 261st District Court reviewed arguments and evidence in the case and dismissed the lawsuit Tuesday. Livingston stated she recognized what was at stake for both sides of the dispute.
“Plaintiff’s are facing an unwanted invasion onto their property along with fears of explosions and other potentially dangerous conditions,” Livingston said. “However, the Court must also be conscious of its role to apply the law and not dictate the policy of the State.”
A decision homeowner Lane Hutchins is not pleased with.
Hutchins has called Fredericksburg her home for nearly three decades. By this time next year, Kinder Morgan’s Permian Highway Pipeline will be placed in her backyard.
Hutchins said she’s not only losing property but space to raise her horses. “This land is way more than that, my heart is here, my roots go down into this land I love this land I know every inch of this place,” Hutchins said.
Allen Fore, Vice President of Kinder Morgan was pleased with the judge's decision. “Projects like the Permian Highway are critical to the economy of the state of Texas there is a balance between property rights, owner rights and environmental protection," Fore said.
Fore said the company is working with landowners to find common ground. He said anyone who is concerned with the development can take a look at the 26,000 miles of pipeline currently running through Texas.
“Those pipelines have operated safely they’ve operated in an environmentally responsible way, and they’ve operated in the cooperation and consultation and mutually agreeable relationship with homeowners,” Fore said. “That’s what we’ve done in the hill country for 50 years.”
The Texas Real Estate Advocacy Defense Coalition said the battle is not over releasing this statement:
“We respect but disagree with Judge Livingston's ruling. We continue to believe the Texas constitution does not allow for the delegation of this awesome power to a private company without oversight. This issue should be heard by an appellate court. We are weighing our options for an appeal and planning additional legal actions in other venues to challenge this severely problematic route.”
The project is set to break ground in October.