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Kinder Morgan talks about benefits of pipelines

By BY DIANNA WRAY - DWRAY@VICAD.COM
March 1, 2012 at 3:05 p.m.
Updated Feb. 29, 2012 at 9:01 p.m.

Kinder Morgan Public Affairs Director Allen Fore speaks at the Cuero Rotary Club on Thursday. Kinder Morgan is running a pipeline through DeWitt County en route to Houston.

CUERO - With all of the bad press about pipelines, Kinder Morgan Public Affairs Director Allen Fore came to town to talk about the good things his company does.

Fore was the guest speaker for the Cuero Rotary Club at the Cuero Country Club on Thursday. He spoke about the pipeline being laid in the Crossroads to handle the increased oil production from the Eagle Ford Shale.

Kinder Morgan is investing $220 million to build 61 miles of new pipeline and convert 109 miles of natural gas pipeline to transport crude and condensate oil from the Eagle Ford Shale to the Houston Ship Channel.

"It is the safest way to transport energy," Fore told the crowd.

"Of course, you have accidents. Things happen," a man called from the audience.

"Nothing is 100 percent, but it is the safest," Fore replied with a nod.

Fore said he tries to visit as many rotary clubs and community organizations as he can when he is in an area where Kinder Morgan is putting in a pipeline. These meetings give him a chance to explain his company's corporate philosophy and to talk to people about what the Houston-based pipeline company is doing in their area.

Fore noted that pipeline companies in general have received a lot of negative publicity due to the Keystone XL pipeline, a project that proposes to run a pipeline from Canada to Texas. The project has both environmentalists and landowners up in arms.

Fore's own company has had some negative coverage over the way tracts of land in DeWitt County were bought, notably their dealings with Kathy and Jimmy Gips, of Cuero, which was reported by the Victoria Advocate.

A section of the couple's land was taken by the company through the right of eminent domain earlier this year after the two sides failed to reach an agreement on the price. The Gips, represented by District Attorney Michael Sheppard, are set to go to court later this year to let a jury decide the value of their land, Sheppard said.

Sheppard introduced Fore at the weekly meeting.

Fore acknowledged these problems, but stayed focused on the positive side of his company's presence in the community. He noted that Kinder Morgan brings jobs to communities and makes donations to local institutions. Kinder Morgan is a company focused on being a good neighbor, that tries to make sure people benefit from their presence, he said.

Fore is based in Illinois, but travels across the country representing Kinder Morgan. There are a lot of towns and states that would love to be dealing with the kinds of problems being wrestled with in the midst of the Eagle Ford Shale boom, he said.

"There are negatives to what you have here, but a lot of folks would love to have the Eagle Ford Shale in their state," Fore said.

Rotarian Ron Ledbetter said he liked that Fore came out to talk about Kinder Morgan's pipeline project that is running through the Crossroads.

"I think it was good to hear from them," Ledbetter said. "There are a lot of good things that come with this. It's not all bad."

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