Hays County Commissioners Court votes to rescind road permits for Permian Highway Pipeline

The Hays County Commissioners Court voted Tuesday to immediately rescind county road permits that allowed Kinder Morgan to cut through and drill underneath Hays County roads while installing its Permian Highway Pipeline

The vote came after the court's executive session.

RELATED: Lawsuit filed in opposition to pipeline in Hays County

Precinct 3 Commissioner Lon Shell said his motion was to prevent what happened in neighboring Blanco County when horizontal directional drilling damaged Karst features, a type of landscape where the dissolving of the bedrock has created sinkholes, as defined by the National Park Service. 

When the Karst features were damaged in Blanco County, nearby groundwater wells became contaminated with drilling fluid, something that Shell is trying to prevent from happening in Hays County.

“My concern is especially for western Hays County because if Karst features were impacted by boring it could take significant rainfall before contaminants are noticed in our groundwater,” Shell said. “I believe the pipeline company needs to better understand where various Karst features are in order to protect our natural resources.”


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RELATED: Construction on Kinder Morgan Permian Highway pipeline begins in the Hill Country

The motion requires the permits to be rescinded until Kinder Morgan complies with the Texas Railroad Commission’s Notice of Violation for the damage done in Blanco County and provides a plan to prevent further impact to ground and surface water.

Shell also called upon Kinder Morgan to provide a detailed geology report for each proposed road crossing in Hays County to determine whether the site is underlaid by Karst.

RELATED: FOX 7 Discussion: Permian Basin pipeline

The Court also directed County staff to prepare and present a plan for the Court’s consideration outlining criteria for Kinder Morgan to follow so the company would be aware in advance of the County’s requirements. Shell noted that the plan could require the use of ground-penetrating radar that would show where to avoid Karst features, as well as the mapping of groundwater wells in a one- or two-mile radius.

RELATED: Travis County judge rules in favor of Kinder Morgan Permian Pipeline

Because Kinder Morgan is already working in Hays County, Shell directed transportation department staff to visit the site to give notice of the revoked permits.