Friday, July 29, 2016

Clarksville hopes PSC can help protect its watershed from pipeline

Posted By on Fri, Jul 29, 2016 at 1:49 PM

click to enlarge Clearing for Diamond Pipeline in Johnson County, from the "Diamond Pipeline and Johnson County, AR - What  You Need to Know" page on Facebook.
  • Clearing for Diamond Pipeline in Johnson County, from the "Diamond Pipeline and Johnson County, AR - What You Need to Know" page on Facebook.

Clarksville Light and Water Co. has asked the state Public Service Commission to be granted intervenor status in the application by Diamond Pipeline to cross five navigable state waterways to get oil from Oklahoma to Memphis. 

John Bethel, director of the PSC, said the staff had no objection to the petition. The decision on whether the utility can intervene should come soon, Bethel said. The utility filed its petition July 21; the PSC will hear Diamond Pipeline's application at 9:30 a.m. Aug. 18, 2016, at the PSC, 1000 Center St.

Clarksville Light and Water General Manager John Lester and members of the Clarksville City Council have expressed concerns that the oil pipeline will cross Big Piney Creek and Spadra Creek, which are water sources for Clarksville and other Johnson County towns, and could present a danger to the drinking water.

Lester said today the utility is working on an agreement with the pipeline company to fund an escrow account that would pay to move the water intake on Spadra Creek above the pipeline and make changes at Piney Bay. Two engineering firms have been hired to estimate the cost of mitigation. The utility might withdraw its petition after the account is created and funded, Lester said, but added, "If you do not keep their feet to the fire, they don't deliver on what they promise." The company also has complained about negative comments from the public, likely on the Diamond Pipeline and Johnson County, AR - What You Need To Know Facebook page. You can read our previous reporting on Clarksville's battle with Plains All American here.

The PSC is limited in its authority to deciding whether the project would impair commerce on or use of navigable waterways, Bethel said. Arkansas law gives common carrier pipeline companies the right of eminent domain; already, Alderman Danna Schneider said, much land has been cleared in Johnson County for the pipeline.

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Speaking of...

  • Coalition's fight against Diamond Pipeline routing gets health department backing

    March 18, 2016
    The Arkansas River Valley Safe Water Coalition, created by residents of Clarksville concerned that Valero Oil's Diamond Project pipeline that will transport crude shale oil from Oklahoma to Tennessee through Arkansas, will soon post a petition drive asking the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to require the pipeline company to move its route out of the watershed of Clarksville's water supply. You can read more about the work of the coalition and Johnson County's concerns on the coalition's What You Need to Know Facebook page. /more/
  • Landowners settle with pipeline company; public hearing set

    January 12, 2016
    Dwight and Sandy Kimbriel of Clarksville, who were the last holdouts in Johnson County in the taking of their property for the Diamond Project’s crude oil pipeline, have reached a settlement agreement with the company, making the eminent domain petition filed against them moot. Meanwhile, Clarksville Alderman Danna Schneider said there will be an informational hearing for the public on the pipeline on Jan. 25 at the University of the Ozarks. Because the pipeline project required no public hearings, Schneider and others are calling one on their own. /more/
  • Holding out against Diamond pipeline taking

    December 25, 2015
    Dwight and Sandy Kimbriel of Clarksville are, they believe, the last holdouts in Johnson County in granting an easement for the Diamond Project’s crude oil pipeline. Now, the pipeline company is taking them to court and asking for immediate access to their property. /more/
  • The Diamond pipeline

    November 26, 2015
    Cutting through watersheds, aquifers. /more/
  • Diamond pipeline opposition continues with lawsuit

    January 24, 2015
    A lawsuit challenges eminent domain power for a proposed pipeline to carry crude oil across Arkansas from Oklahoma to a Memphis refinery without any public use in Arkansas. /more/
  • PSC tallies impact of court ruling on cable TV property taxes

    December 17, 2012
    I wrote last week that a state Supreme Court decision held that Charter Cable had lost its challenge of the state's assessment of its intangible property (such as franchise agreements and good will) as part of the amount on which it pays property taxes. /more/
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