Nashville lawmakers fight Joelton gas compressor station

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Though federal regulators have final authority, two Tennessee state lawmakers from Nashville say they’re doing what they can to stop a controversial planned gas compressor station from locating in Joelton.

Republican State Sen. Steve Dickerson and Democratic Rep. Bo Mitchell, both from Nashville, joined environmental activists and Joelton residents on Tuesday to unveil bipartisan legislation that would prohibit compressor stations across Tennessee from being constructed with one mile of a park.

It’s an attempt to help block a compressor in the Joelton area in north Davidson County that Tennessee Gas Pipeline, a subsidiary of oil and gas giant Kinder Morgan Inc., has sought to build.

Nashville’s Metro Council has already taken action against the gas compressor stationwhen it voted 30-3 in August to pass a new policy that restricts gas compressor stations to only industrial-zoned areas in Davidson County.

But ultimately, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has the final say over whether the company can choose that part of Joelton for its compressor station.

“It’s going to be difficult, to be honest with you,” Mitchell said. “If this passes, it will be challenged. There’s no doubt. The folks who are trying to build this is a huge corporation. They’ve got money to burn to fight this legislation.

“At the end of the day the FERC committee is the last word,” he said. “Sen. Dickerson and I are just doing our job and defending our district and our constituents the best way we know how.”

A representative of Kinder Morgan did not immediately return a request for comment.

At issue is a planned gas compressor station that is part of Kinder Morgan’s Broad Run Expansion project, which seeks to expand transportation capacity from an existing pipe system that goes from West Virginia to the Gulf Coast.

The proposed Northwest Davidson County station, targeted for 82 acres on 7560 Whites Creek Pike, is less than a mile from Paradise Ridge Park — within the parameters set by the prohibition.

Joelton residents there have alleged that the facility would be a water and air pollutant in the area, produce unwanted noise and disrupt nearby organic farming. They’ve also raised concerns about the safety of children in the nearby park.

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