Kinder Morgan wins Texas court challenge, removing obstacle to $2 billion gas pipeline

Kinder Morgan can begin work on a $2 billion natural gas pipeline without having the Texas energy regulator approve its proposed route, a state judge ruled on Tuesday.

The decision removes a challenge to the state’s licensing process that lets gas pipeline companies determine their own route and acquire land without a landowner’s consent. Texas is in the midst of a pipeline-construction boom with multibillion-dollar projects under way to bring shale oil and gas to market.

A Travis County District court ruled the Texas Railroad Commission, the state’s oil and gas regulator, is not required to set standards for routing the pipelines or private land-takings, Judge Lora Livingston wrote on Tuesday. The state allows gas pipeline operators that qualify as utilities to use eminent domain to take land for the public good.
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