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Eminent Domain Lawsuits Halted by Oil Pipeline

A corporation seeking to build a contested Oil Pipeline over an aquifer that supplies drinking water to 1 million people verbally agreed Tuesday to drop claims against Tennessee landowners who declined to sell access to their land for construction. Plains All American Pipeline spokesman Brad Leone said the corporation would reach an agreement with the Memphis City Council in writing to place lawsuits brought against property owners opposing the Byhalia Link pipeline on hold.

Leone appeared at a council committee meeting where representatives debated a new city law that would make approval and construction of the Oil Pipeline more difficult. Plains is a partner in a 49-mile underground pipeline that connects the east-west Diamond Pipeline via the Valero refinery in Memphis to the north-south Capline Pipeline near Byhalia, Mississippi, as part of a joint venture with Valero Energy.

The Capline, which previously transported crude oil from a Gulf of Mexico port north to the Midwest, is now being reversed to bring oil south via Mississippi to Gulf Coast refineries and export terminals. The project, according to Plains and Valero, will bring much-needed jobs and tax revenue to the Memphis area. Tennessee and the US Army Corps of Engineers have given Byhalia Connection permission to construct the Oil Pipeline.

The pipeline will cross the c, which supplies slightly sweet drinking water to 1 million people in the Memphis area. It is part of a vast aquifer system that supplies water to fields, factories, and homes in eight states. Opponents of the pipeline, including environmentalists, attorneys, advocates, and legislators, are concerned that an oil spill will cause pollution to seep into the aquifer, putting Memphis’ drinking water at risk.

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