The Courier-Journal asked the community to submit responses to the proposed LG&E pipeline, and they were flooded with responses. So far, they have received more than 40 letters shaming LG&E in support of Bernheim.
Here’s the article from Courier-Journal Director of Community Impact Veda Morgan:
Louisville Gas and Electric Company’s plan to build a 12-inch-wide natural gas pipeline through a section of Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest has stirred strong emotions among residents who have a fierce love of the forest and want it protected.
When The Courier-Journal asked people to weigh in on the LG&E-Bernheim Forest controversy, people from across the region flooded my inbox, with the vast majority adamantly opposed to LG&E’s plans, including its effort to take the land through eminent domain.
All the letters can be read on The Courier-Journal’s website, but see below for a few of our favorites:
Pipeline plan an atrocity
So few places now exist where ecosystems are protected that a plan for a pipeline that would destroy this part of Berheim Forest is an atrocity. It is also unnecessary as other routes are available outside of the forest. Berheim Forest is a place where families, friends and even young children come to enjoy the beauty of nature. It must be preserved and protected for generations to come.
Barbara H. Warner
Profit over people and the planet
This issue is simply another sad, ever more common example of large, wealthy corporations prioritizing profit over people and the planet. It shows that some people do not listen to or trust science. There are other potential routes for this pipeline. LG&E is simply taking the shortest, cheapest route with no regard for what lies between point A and point B. LG&E never performed an “environmental impact study” for this pipeline, further exemplifying its blatant disregard for Kentucky’s untouched natural land and the rare species residing on it. And in the bigger picture, Bernheim’s land is protected under a conservation easement, which is a legal document protecting that land from being used for anything other than conservation purposes. If LG&E wins this case, it will set a precedent for further cases, weakening the power of any conservation easement. We have to put people and the planet before profit!
Build elsewhere, LG&E
My father (born 1913) once told me, “People need to take care of the land. It’s one thing they’re not making any more of.” As our climate is changing and we are looking at monumental global changes taking place, this area of Kentucky is a place to take a local stand. Build elsewhere, LG&E. Don’t destroy this land because it is cheaper to do it in this area instead of an alternate route. Take care of the land, not money.
Casey Creek, 42728
All of Bernheim should be protected
LG&E needs to find a new plan that avoids Bernheim Forest. We already have a depleted tree canopy, and LG&E’s plans would destroy several acres of forest. Fragmented forest is worse for birds and animals. As we know from history, cutting down a portion of the tree canopy allows invasive species to take hold and thrive, which degrades the habitat even more. In addition, violating the legal protections of Bernheim’s conservation easement would set a terrible precedent because it could jeopardize all conservation easements. As a financial supporter/member of Bernheim, I feel very strongly that all of Bernheim’s land should remain protected.
Reroute the pipeline
We have such few pristine nature preserves in Kentucky. Don’t destroy it with the pipeline. Bernheim Forest is an important research location and outdoor classroom to thousands of people worldwide. Route the pipeline somewhere else!
Consider alternative energy sources
In the 70s and early 80s several subdivisions were built in Jefferson county with no gas service, supposedly natural gas was running out. Today there are plenty of alternative energy sources to gas. Places like Bernheim need to remain untouched for our future generations.
Pipeline isn’t for the public good
I don’t think that LG&E should be able to claim Bernheim’s land through eminent domain. The pipeline is more about making a corporation more money and keeping us in the same system of fossil fuel dependence than about public good. We would all be better off if LG&E was publicly owned and actively expanding renewable and sustainable energy storage.
Go around Bernheim
I believe Berheim Forest is a wonderful treasure that the people of Kentucky should do all they can to protect. LG&E should build a pipeline around Bernheim, not through it.
Bernheim is a rare jewel
I would like to vote a resounding NO to the gas pipeline being anywhere near Bernheim Forest, a place my family and I visit frequently. This is a rare jewel we have, and I see no reason to put this beautiful place at risk because LG&E does not feel like rerouting this gas line. As usual it’s all about how much money can they make as cheaply as possible. For some reason LG&E feels that it is imperative those few homes must have natural gas service. My neighbors and I have used propane for at least the last 30 years without a single problem and without the fear of leaking and exploding gas mains. Let them use propane. Oh, wait… LG&E doesn’t sell propane.
A precious resource
Please don’t mess with Bernheim. It’s a precious resource.
We are right about saving Bernheim
Putting a pipeline through pristine Bernheim Forest: What could possibly go wrong? Well, 383,000 gallons of oil just leaked at the Keystone Pipeline in North Dakota. So the Indians were right about that, after all. And we’re right about saving Bernheim Forest.
Protect our national treasure
It’s easier for LG&E to take one big easement than small easements from numerous small landholders, but the pipeline should go around this national treasure and its vulnerable species, some found nowhere else in the world.
If LG&E were truly concerned about having enough gas for its customers, it wouldn’t have killed its efficiency incentives programs — as it did this year. We suspect LG&E would rather sell more gas and earn more guaranteed profit on an expensive new asset.
Suburban sprawl is structurally dependent on unsustainable private, automotive transportation. Extended utilities lead to sprawl where it otherwise wouldn’t be built. Our climate needs less sprawl and more, not fewer, trees.
If LG&E could use the government’s powers of eminent domain through a land trust, all Kentucky land trusts would be at risk.
Sarah Lynn Cunningham
Louisville Climate Action Network
See more letters in support of Bernheim on The Courier Journal’s website here!