Pipeline Project Halted After Slurry Spill

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Pipelayers

Pipeline running along the land.

The Hays County Commissioners Court in Texas voted unanimously this week to rescind permission for the project to cut through and drill underneath county roads. The move comes after a drilling mishap by a pipeline construction crew in neighboring Blanco County spilled tens of thousands of gallons of slurry into an underground aquifer. 

The drilling accident is currently the subject of a lawsuit between pipeline operator Kinder Morgan and local watershed groups.

¨Until they can figure out what the process is and why it happened and what, specifically, their contractor did,” Walt Smith, Hays County Commissioner, told KUT 90.5. "We just want them to pause.”

According to Statesman News Network, the orders are unlikely to ultimately stop the pipeline from being built. Pipeline operator Kinder Morgan could meet state and county demands to commit to further safeguards or face off in court. According to the article, the company is closing in on completing the first 100 miles of the 430-mile pipeline. A company official said he expects the pipeline to be completed on schedule by April next year. 

The planned 42-inch-diameter pipeline will carry natural gas from West Texas to refineries on the Texas coast.