Tennessee Community Pushes Against Kinder Morgan’s 32-Mile Cumberland Pipeline Project

By Mary Holcomb, Digital Editor

(P&GJ) — Residents in Dickson County, Tennessee, are hesitant to welcome Kinder Morgan’s Cumberland gas pipeline project along their land, citing deep concerns with living near the pipeline.

Cumberland gas pipeline project route (Source: Kinder Morgan)

Bob Baird, who has owned a home in the area for nearly a decade, said his main concern with the project is that his home is well within the explosion zone of the pipeline, according to News Channel 5 Nashville.

"I just don’t think it makes sense, doesn’t seem to be safe, doesn’t seem to be well thought out," Baird added.

The pipeline operator is proposing a 32-mile-long, 30-inch-wide natural gas pipeline that will originate from Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company LLC’s (TGP) existing 100 Line in Dickson County, Tennessee, to Cumberland City in Stewart County. The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) will switch the Cumberland City plant from coal to natural gas over the course of the following five years.

Given that the new pipeline is projected to follow one of TVA's high-voltage lines, Baird is also concerned about what else is nearby.

"To me, it doesn’t make sense to put a gas line under a high-tension line carrying a lot of electricity," Baird told News Channel 5.

The community’s fears are fueled by the 1992 natural gas explosion that sparked a 400-acre fire in Claylick, Tennessee, which injured five people and damaged several homes.

On March 16, 1992, two natural gas lines exploded, sending flames 200 feet into the air and starting a the fire that scorched more than 400 acres of rolling countryside and burned three homes, according to a New York Times report from that day.

A four-square mile area surrounding the explosion, which occurred outside of White Bluff, caused the evacuation of a community of 2,000 people about 35 miles west of Nashville.

The fire went on for four hours before emergency personnel could intervene. Dickson county resident and longtime firefighter Richard Honeycutt remembers that day firsthand as he was one of the first responders to battle the blaze.

“We couldn’t get within a half-mile of it because it was so large,” he told the news organization. "We lost a lot of houses we couldn’t never even put water on because we couldn’t get close to them."

Tenneco Inc., who operated two of the four natural gas lines at the time, has since been acquired by Kinder Morgan.

"It could have been a fracture," a Tenneco spokesman, David Lane, told the New York Times on that day. "But the ignition had to come from another source. These lines fracture all the time because of stress."

Still, residents are working with environmental groups like Appalachian Voices and the Sierra Club to figure out a way to block the development of the pipeline.

Pending the receipt of all required permits and clearances, construction is scheduled to begin in August 2024, with an expected in-service date of September 1, 2025, according to Kinder Morgan.

Kinder Morgan operates roughly 1,300 miles of pipelines and two terminals — Knoxville Terminal and Chattanooga Terminal — in Tennessee. The pipeline systems include the Tennessee Gas Pipeline, Products SE Pipe Line, and Southern Natural Gas.

Related News


{{ error }}
{{ comment.comment.Name }} • {{ comment.timeAgo }}
{{ comment.comment.Text }}