This video captures the Nashville-area community-based opposition to the proposed 60,000 horsepower fracked gas compressor station being forced upon Middle Tennessee residents with the corresponding air quality and public safety impacts. The project seeks to utilize interstate pipeline systems dating back to the 1940s which have been poorly maintained and in some cases pose a known safety risk to surrounding residents. In this video, the poor condition of these local pipelines is exposed and this documentation went on to become the core of the “2015 Field Study of Gas Pipeline Safety In Tennessee“, which was submitted to federal regulators in January of 2016. The current status of the compressor station hangs in the balance, and it is worth noting that Nashville would be the first major metropolitan city in the US to be expected to shoulder the public health and safety risks associated with gas infrastructure of this scale.
Update May 2017: Kinder Morgan has launched an all-out effort to undermine the will of Davidson County voters. Our community’s hearing before the state-level Air Pollution Control Board revealed that although several members of the board acknowledged they had conflicts of interest due to their ties to industry, the board nevertheless dismissed the concerns of residents and refused to include two Metro Davidson ordinances (requiring Gas Infrastructure to be restricted to industrially-zoned areas and requiring emissions to be contained within that property) in the State Implementation Plan, effectively leaving Nashville residents to fend for themselves without support at the State level.
Kinder Morgan’s allies in the Tennessee Statehouse (Senator Jack Johnson andTN House Representative Kelly Keisling) introduced legislation in April 2017 to permanently strip Tennessee communities from exercising local control of air quality by prohibiting any zoning requirements from being attached to the federal Clean Air Act. The Governor of Tennessee, reported to be “very sensitive about his ties to the Oil & Gas business”, promptly signed this legislation into law, betraying the public interest for the sake of Oil & Gas interests who have shown reckless disregard for public safety and health impacts.
At this time, an effort is underway to set in motion a community-based divestment from the financial interests who back this company and make it possible for them to manipulate public institutions and policy to benefit themselves and their shareholders. When our democratic institutions and regulatory structures have been corrupted beyond functioning in the public interest, our only recourse is to leverage our collective financial power to make them hear our voices.
Have you heard about the two “fracked” gas compressors that the oil & gas business plans to construct in Davidson County? Joelton and Cane Ridge are the communities targeted to host these emitters of industrial pollution one 60,000 horsepower and the other 40,000. Nashville is the first major US Metropolitan City expected to assume the public safety risks and health impacts of gas infrastructure this scale. Below is a model of emission impacts based on a 30-mile radius. Downtown Nashville sits in the overlapping zone where impact is doubled. For information on how to become involved in the effort to prevent this development please visit Concerned Citizens For A Safe Environment at the following link:
After a general call for donations bound for Standing Rock starting with the Oct 8th event Nashville In Solidarity with Standing Rock, and followed by the Oct 11th concert performance and donation drive at Hard Rock Café Nashville(featuring Mike Younger), The TN State Powwow and the Oct 15th Full Moon Barn Party, on Oct 16th 2016, the community of Middle Tennessee, in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and the over 300 indigenous nations represented at Oceti Sakowin Camp at Cannonball North Dakota, sent Mike Younger and Charles “Mac” Wilson with a 28 foot livestock trailer loaded to the ceiling with 7 live hogs, produce from several local farms, winter camping supplies, dry goods, solar-powered equipment, water-purification equipment and more to distribute among the camp to those planning to remain through the brutally harsh North Dakota Winter.
Contributions were made by the North American Indian Association of Tennessee, Long Hungry Creek Farm, Tony’s Foodland of Joelton and hundreds of private citizens in the Middle Tennessee area.
Lewis Dickerson & Mike Younger at the TN State Powwow Oct 14th 2016
Brittany Fire Crow, Nikkole Turner, Mike Younger and Dawn Morrison at NAIA(Native American Indian Association) of TN
Arriving at Standing Rock on the 19th of October we were introduced to the former Chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux, Ron His Horse Is Thunder, a buffalo rancher who enabled us to unload the hogs at his ranch a few miles from Oceti Sakowin.
Once the hogs were unloaded we proceeded into Oceti Sakowin Camp to unload the rest of the cargo, making sure it was distributed to those who needed it the most…
In the week that we were in camp we established a scrap-collection routine to keep the hogs fed and the camp waste down to a minimum.
We attended a few of the marches up to the work-sites leading to the banks of the Missouri. Each day the police violence against women, children and elders was worse than the day before.
On October 27th we began the journey home and the militarized police force assembled against unarmed non-violent protesters was unleashed resulting in numerous false arrests and trumped-up federal charges, violence perpetrated by state agencies against peaceful water protectors, for the benefit of an oil & gas interest.
Once back in Tennessee, I attended a fundraising event for Concerned Citizens for a Safe Environment(CCSE), the local citizens group fighting to prevent the construction of one of the largest gas compressors in the country in the midst of their community. At this event I had the distinct pleasure of sharing my experiences with Congressman Jim Cooper and an important meeting was set to discuss the human rights abuses on display at Standing Rock .
At this time the efforts underway at the national and local level to address the issue of Oil and Gas Interests corrupting the regulatory agencies charged with keeping their infrastructure safe are ongoing. Congressman Cooper has urged the community to find Republican support for our concerns due to the results of the recent election. Although this is a setback to human rights and environmental concerns in both North Dakota and Tennessee, a growing community of Americans are joining the ranks of ordinary citizens who are demanding that the Constitution of the United States be respected and adhered-to in matters of fossil-fuel infrastructure expansion and the systemic violation of the public trust that the fossil-fuel industry is now waging. Please take a moment to sign and share the following change.org petition:
Local Residents Bring Federal Regulators to Inspect Decaying Pipelines
On May 3rd and 4th of 2016, after many long months, the community of Middle Tennessee was very grateful to welcome federal pipeline inspectors from the PHMSA(Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Organization) to see for themselves the unsafe condition of the interstate pipeline infrastructure passing through Davidson County. Going forward our aim will be to get some measure of accountability from the owner/operator of these pipelines to ensure they clean up their act in this area and address the issues raised by the flood of 2010 which uncovered and exposed a great deal of problems with these ancient pipes. Please stay engaged in our grassroots community struggle for the future of Davidson County as we know it. We hope to prevent the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure under these conditions and we feel this operator has ignored a public safety threat with impunity for long enough. Please stay engaged with CCSE (Concerned Citizens For A Safe Environment) at www.ccsenow.org and stand with friends and neighbors to protect our community from this unwanted development.
For those who are residents of Davidson County, you may have heard about the 60,000 horsepower gas compressor station that has been proposed for construction in a rural/agricultural/residential area in the town of Joelton, just north of Nashville. It will be among the largest fossil fuel infrastructures of it’s kind in the country and it poses numerous risks to human and environmental health. The community has almost unanimously taken the position that this development is unwanted and has successfully moved Nashville Metro City Council to put in place an ordinance that keeps industrial infrastructure such as the proposed compressor station in industrially zoned areas. The company who seeks to impose their development upon the community claims to be exempt from state and local law and is proceeding as though the ordinance will not hold under pressure from their army of attorneys as well as the political pressure they are able to exert on public officials.
It is for this reason that Mike took action in the summer of 2015 to document and catalogue the numerous indefensible examples of poorly maintained and unsafe pipeline infrastructure that will soon be subject to greater internal pressures due to expanded capacity for export markets as the company has boasted. The expanded activity will bring no jobs or economic benefit to our area, only the very real risks associated with this type of infrastructure in combination with deteriorating pipeline, in many cases up to 70 years old.
The 2015 Field Study of Gas Pipeline Safety In Tennessee was submitted into Federal proceedings on January 11th 2016 in a request for intervention.