According to reports, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is expected to give Kinder Morgan the go-ahead to clear land for the Permian Highway Pipeline portion that would traverse through the Texas Hill Country.
There will be one more meeting that will need approval also.
Opponents of the planned 430-mile pipeline from the West Texas oil patch to the Gulf Coast are concerned that the pipeline could harm federally protected birds and salamanders in the Texas Hill Country.
“Kinder Morgan and Permian Highway Pipeline are in full compliance with the Endangered Species Act,” the company said in a statement. “PHP’s environmental assessments, among other things, comprehensively considered those endangered species that could potentially be affected by the project, and our construction plans have been designed to minimize impacts to those species.”
While the company has already begun construction on the pipeline in West Texas, the work has yet to move east into the ecologically sensitive Hill Country.
Kinder Morgan recently announced that it had obtained access to “nearly all” of the private land it needs to finish the pipeline. The company plans to have the project in service by early 2021.
It is reported that Kinder Morgan only has until early March to clear the pipeline’s path through Central Texas because after that window, federally protected golden-cheeked warblers will return to the region from Central and South America for their nesting and mating season. If the clearing work is not completed between now and the start of March, then the pipeline construction must be halted for six months until August, when the warblers migrate south again.