Kentucky editorial roundup

Posted November 30

— Recent editorials from Kentucky newspapers:


Nov. 29

The Lexington Herald-Leader on a pipeline plan:

Plans to radically repurpose a 70-year-old pipeline that runs through Kentucky and four other states — and that would imperil Danville's water supply and Mammoth Cave National Park — should not advance without a full environmental impact study.

A recent questionable recommendation that the project does not merit a full review appears to stem from an illogical technicality. The staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission based this recommendation on just one phase of the plan, but disregarded the gist of the plan, which is the part that raises serious concerns about public safety and the environment.

Energy giant Kinder Morgan is seeking FERC's approval to abandon a Tennessee Gas pipeline that has long carried natural gas north from the gulf. The proposal is to then convert the aged pipeline to move heavier, more pressurized and highly volatile fracking byproducts southward from drilling operations in Ohio to Texas.

The staff report to the federal commission maintains that because abandoning the pipeline would not "cause" the conversion there is no need for FERC to undertake a more rigorous study of the environmental impacts. The project is designed to eventually deliver up to 450,000 barrels a day of natural gas liquids, such as butane, propane and ethane for use in manufacturing chemicals, to Texas.

The staff also explained that if the commission grants abandonment of the pipeline, its subsequent conversion to carry drilling byproducts would not fall under FERC's jurisdiction. The FERC staff further passes the buck by saying that "the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and state agencies would be responsible for reviewing environmental impacts of the conversion."

This bureaucratic hairsplitting is irresponsible. Kinder Morgan would not be asking to "abandon" the pipeline if it did not plan to quickly convert it to a new and riskier use. The two phases make up one piece, and the whole plan should be considered in a detailed environmental impact statement.

The pipeline conversion proposal is just the sort of action the National Environmental Policy Act of 1970 said should be subject to rigorous review because the potential impacts are significant. The pipeline runs through towns and neighborhoods, near schools and college campuses, in 18 Kentucky counties, from Simpson to Greenup.

The National Park Service has expressed concerns about pipeline spills affecting Mammoth Cave, the world's longest cave system, and the surrounding karst topography and groundwater.

The pipeline spans Harrington Lake, which is the primary source of drinking water for Danville and other communities. The company wants to rebuild the pipeline under the lake.

The Kentucky Environmental Foundation contends that separating the project into two parts is "an intentional effort" by Kinder Morgan to "avoid a full and careful" review of its intentions.

In addition to the Berea-based foundation, fiscal courts in Garrard and Clark counties, the Danville-Boyle Economic Development Partnership and the Bluegrass Area Development District have requested a full environmental impact statement.

We join them in that reasonable and responsible demand.



Nov. 30

The Bowling Green Daily News on honoring a World War II veteran:

"The lucky one" was an appropriate and fitting headline for World War II veteran Samuel Robertson.

The Bowling Green native is lucky in many ways - living a long and healthy life, having a loving family, living through a world war and being one of only three survivors in a glider that crashed during the D-Day invasion.

Robertson is a true American hero.

The highly decorated 95-year-old veteran served his country very admirably, entering the service in March 1943 at the age of 22 and from November 1943 to November 1945 serving with the 101st Airborne Division. He participated in campaigns in Normandy, Ardennes and Central Europe, among others. He was an installer and repairman of telephone systems and took part in Operation Overlord, the first U.S. combat operation that launched the successful invasion of German-occupied Western Europe during WWII.

The stories that Robertson could tell about his experiences during the war would be absolutely fascinating to hear. But it is admirable as well if Robertson, like many other WWII veterans, keeps a lot of stories about his experiences to himself.

Robertson has been honored with other distinguished awards, including the Distinguished Unit Badge, the Meritorious Unit Award, the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with five bronze stars, the Airborne Glider Badge, the Good Conduct Medal, the WWII Victory Medal and the Purple Heart.

These are all very prestigious awards that were well deserved.

Not only did Robertson earn these awards, he was also bestowed the National Order of the Legion of Honor on Saturday, the highest honor France bestows upon those who have achieved remarkable deeds for the country.

This had to be a great honor for Robertson.

Robertson received the decoration Saturday at a ceremony at the Warren County Courthouse where his brother, Lee Robertson, also a WWII veteran, and his children and grandchildren watched as it was bestowed upon him.



Nov. 29

The (Ashland) Independent on the Needy Families Fund:

Since 1988, the Needy Families Fund has helped make Christmas a little brighter for hundreds of low-income families in Boyd, Greenup and Carter counties thanks to the generosity of scores of individuals, Sunday school classes, non-profit agencies, families and many entities in this region.

The 28th annual campaign to raise money for the Needy Families Fund is under way and the leaders, supporters and volunteers for the Ashland Citadel of the Salvation Army, CAReS of Boyd County, Helping Hands of Greenup County and Project Merry Christmas in Carter County are hoping 2016 will be the year when several years of declines in giving to the Needy Families Fund will be reversed and the fund will return to being a major and dependable source of annual revenue for the four nonprofit agencies that share the donated money.

The fund was the brainchild of former Daily Independent Publisher John Del Santo, who launched it in 1988. For its first 20 years, collections were channeled through the newspaper. After that, CAReS?took over management of the campaign.

For many years, the fund, which has raised more than $600,000 since 1988, topped more than $30,000 a year, but it has declined in the more recent years. The annual campaign raised just more than $17,000 in both 2015 and 2014. While supporters of the four agencies greatly appreciate every donation to the fund, they miss the days when the giving annually total nearly doubled that.

From the start, every penny given to the Needy Families Fund has gone directly into programs for the needy that are sponsored by CAReS, the Salvation Army, Helping Hands and Project Merry Christmas. Neither during the years when this newspaper sponsored the fund nor in the years since has any of the donated revenue been used for "operating" expenses. Not many charitable organizations can make that claim, but CAReS (an acronym for Community Assistance and Referral Service) can because of its dedicated corps of skilled volunteers with a passion for the work of the nonprofit agency.

CAReS and the Salvation Army each get 40 percent of donations. Helping Hands and Project Merry Christmas each get 10 percent.

In Ashland, the campaign ties in with the annual Giving Tree program, also sponsored by CAReS. Giving Tree supporters select names from the tree and buy presents, including both toys and clothes, for the child.

While donations to the Needy Families Fund have slumped in recent years, the need for funding has increased.

"The need is definitely up," said CAReS director Lynn Childers. "People have been laid off.?People who have never been in this situation before now are in need of help."?

The number of reasons can be cited for the decline, including the deaths of a number of loyal donors over the years and the failure of younger residents to pick up the slack in giving caused by the deaths of older givers. For more than a quarter of a century, the Needy Families Fund has been a reliable source of annual donations for the Salvation Army, CAReS, Helping Hands and Project Merry Christmas, but all four of those agencies need an economic shot in the arm to meet increasing needs. We hope this is the year they receive it, not for themselves but for the needy of this region.



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