GOP effort puts oil pipelines over people, property rights
Sen. Raumesh Akbari: ‘It’s absolutely wrong’
NASHVILLE — A Republican bill headed to the Senate floor would allow out-of-state and foreign energy companies to bypass local officials when seeking permission to build oil and gas pipelines through most residential neighborhoods across the state.
The city of Memphis is acutely aware of pipeline projects. Last summer, oil companies canceled their plan to construct the Byhalia pipeline through south Memphis neighborhoods after residents and citizens united to oppose the project.
Senate Bill 2077, which would strip local governments of decision making power over controversial pipeline and gas project development, passed 7–1 through the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee on Tuesday.
Sen. Raumesh Akbari, D-Memphis, who represents southwestern area of Shelby County that rose up to oppose the oil pipeline going through its neighborhoods, cast the lone no vote against the legislation.
”Decisions about a pipeline in your city should be made by your city — not by a group of Capitol Hill politicians who have never set foot in your neighborhood," said Sen. Akbari. “This legislation would supersede every local elected official in all 95 counties. It’s absolutely wrong for the legislature to steal power from leaders whose primary job is to keep our communities safe and vibrant.”
Senate Bill 2077 has yet to be scheduled for a vote by the full Senate, but it’s companion legislation, House Bill 2246 is scheduled for a vote in the House Commerce Committee on March 22.