AUSTIN, Texas -- Attempts to stop a massive natural gas pipeline project have come to a halt after a Travis County District Court dismissed claims that Kinder Morgan, the company behind the project, was usurping eminent domain laws.
- Lawsuit to stop pipeline dismissed
- Pipeline would cost $2 billion
- 430 miles long
Hays County, the City of Kyle and three land-owning families were behind the lawsuit, but the courts ruled against them so the $2 billion, 430 mile pipeline is still on track to be constructed.
The plaintiffs filed a suit against Kinder Morgan and the Railroad Commission of Texas, saying that the RRC should have imposed standards over the private company's project but didn't. They claim that it would put property owners and the natural Hill Country landscape at risk. The Texas Real Estate Advocacy and Defense Coalition, or TREAD, has been leading the efforts in advocating for landowners who are against this project. They feel the ruling ignores the Texas Constitution and puts corporation ahead of citizen.
"This is impacting the economy of Kyle and Hays County and Gillespie County. It's impacting the environment, it's not just landowners, this is a really bad decision for the whole community," said David Braun, legal counsel for the TREAD Coalition.
Meanwhile, a Kinder Morgan spokesperson reacted to the court’s ruling saying in part:
"The court's finding validates the process established in Texas for the development of natural gas utility projects, as well as the steps we have taken to comply with that process."
Braun said the fight isn't over and his team is planning new lawsuits.
"We'll be back in the legislature; we'll be back in the courts. This needs to be decided by a higher court," said Braun.
Braun said he expects more cities and counties to jump on board as they file additional lawsuits against Kinder Morgan and the Railroad Commission.
The City of Austin has filed a resolution against the pipeline project. Braun said it's likely Austin city officials will be involved in upcoming litigation.