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Pipeline company reconsiders, tries to spare trees

By by Dianna Wray - DWRAY@VICAD.COM
Jan. 10, 2012 at 8:01 p.m.
Updated Jan. 9, 2012 at 7:10 p.m.


What is the pipeline for?

The Kinder Morgan pipeline is one of many being put in to handle the glut of oil being produced from the Eagle Ford Shale, a formation that runs from the Texas-Mexico border into East Texas and has brought an oil boom to the Crossroads.

The $220 million pipeline is scheduled to be completed later this year. The pipeline will consist of 61 miles of newly built pipeline and 109 miles of natural gas pipeline that is being converted to move oil to the Houston Ship Channel.

The pipeline company Kinder Morgan has said they won't pay for the loss of trees, but now they're trying to go around the live oaks on Ed Southern's property in Cuero.

"They are coming out and marking as many trees as they possibly can to figure out a way to trim trees and cut branches to get their equipment through without cutting them down," Southern said.

Kinder Morgan is putting in a pipeline on Southern's property. Southern was concerned when he learned that the $220 million pipeline would run directly through a grove of live oaks on his property.

The route staked off by the company would require cutting down about 25 trees to put in the pipeline that will transport 300,000 barrels of crude oil a day from Cuero to the Houston Ship Channel.

The property has been in the family of Southern's wife, Billie Southern, for generations. The couple was saddened to learn that so many trees in the grove would be chopped down. Some of the trees are estimated to be more than 100 years old.

Southern has used the grove to shade cattle for years.

Southern asked the company to increase the amount paid in damages to allow him to replace the trees. Kinder Morgan representatives told Southern they would not pay for trees.

The land was slated to be cleared to put in the pipeline in the upcoming days, and a large section of the naturally occurring grove would be cut down.

However, the company seems to have reconsidered, Southern said. Kinder Morgan representatives contacted the family on Monday to look over the land and see if they could run the pipeline through the property in a way to spare more trees.

Southern said he believes at least nine trees that were marked to be cut down will now be spared.

Kinder Morgan representative Larry Pierce said the company does not comment about negotiations between them and the landowners.

"We don't believe it's beneficial to discuss specifics of what may or may not be taking place between the company and those living along the rights of ways," Pierce stated in an email.

Southern said he and his family were thrilled that the trees would be saved.

"It feels great," he said. "I won't get the shade I asked for, but they're going to save some of the trees."

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