About Us

Who Are We? An Editorial Opinion on the Citizens' Movement

Recently, the Williams Company has been placing articles in area newspapers and attempting to discredit our work. Interestingly, although those articles are labeled as "guest editorials," in most cases online, the public comments have been disabled, making the articles appear more like advertisements than editorials. It is also interesting that these "news" agencies don't typically offer that option to common citizens who submit editorials. In these articles, this out-of-state company, whose representatives are well-paid to do what they do, are displaying their now characteristic arrogance by attempting to define who "we" are. They call us a "few" people who are "standing in the way" of Kentucky's "progress" and that we're the "same ones" who "always" do this kind of thing. I felt that it was time that we actually let the public know who we really are--and who we are not. 

We Are Kentuckians - United We Stand

We're not an officially organized group. We're not a non-profit, although some non-profits have jumped in to help us. We don't do fundraising. We don't really have a leader or organizer. While some of us are activists, the majority of us are just people who didn't ask for and did not want this situation to be forced upon us. We're just a bunch of Kentuckians who have become somehow connected to the pipeline. 

It may be coming through or near our homes and land. Some of us are concerned about our water supply. Some are concerned because it potentially poses a direct threat to our jobs. In short, we just sprung up to ensure that someone is looking out for the pubic interest in this situation. 

We're a rag-tag bunch of farmers, business professionals, educators, retail workers, public servants, public officials, firemen and women, EMS personnel, priests, nuns, ministers, medical professionals, churches, civic groups, stay-at-home moms and dads, clerical workers, school children, retirees, young families, teenagers, baby boomers, agricultural scientists, environmental scientists, attorneys, and many, many more. 

We're not uneducated, uninformed, or unaware of the economic aspect of the proposed pipeline.  In fact, many of us have higher levels of education than individuals whose credentials are posted on the Wiliams Company website.  We simply have different values.

Some of us are lifelong Kentuckians whose families have been here for generations. Others are newer to the state and now call the Bluegrass our home. One thing we do have in common, however, is that we're Kentuckians concerned about our families, our neighbors, our communities, and our state as a whole.

Alternately, we are not over-paid representatives of large, out-of-state companies with questionable histories who've invaded our state and, according to reports we've received, allegedly deceived land owners. We are not companies who proudly state that "tolerance of risk" is a core value. Perhaps that culture explains the company's incident history. 

It is easy for an out-of-state company to tolerate risk when their own families, homes, farms, and communities are not at stake. We do not believe that anyone should be forced to accept that level of risk.

We are not radicals attempting to impede progress, nor are we so-called "eco-terrorists." As far as I know, none of us has any militaristic training--unlike the obviously professional guard working for the company who was on-hand to protect them from a very intimidating four foot tall female art teacher and her two equally petite female students who had created a banner for display at the Franklin County Library "open house." Seriously. He was dressed in all black clothing and carried a bag strapped to his back. I would love to know what was in that bag. Judging by the way he looked, with sculpted muscles and intimidating stance, he had to have had heavy-duty military and/or police training. I wondered if steroids were involved somehow.

People have also asked who I am and why I am doing what I am doing. Fair enough. Here's my story. I am a life-long Kentuckian. My sixth great-grandfather was Edward Boone, brother of Daniel Boone. The two brothers were among the first europeans to explore and establish settlements in Kentucky. I also have Shawnee ancestry. My father's family was largely Pennsylvania Dutch. My mother's family was Scotch-Irish and Native American.

I grew up in the small town of Augusta, Kentucky, an area where my family lived for generations. It is not far from where the Williams Company proposes to cross the Ohio River--an area that experienced an earthquake a little over two weeks ago (the third in my lifetime alone).

I'm the daughter of a World War II marine who fought in Iwo Jima and did duty in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Both of my parents were factory workers. I am named after a soldier uncle who was an MIA in the Korean war.  He has a memorial star mounted on the wall of Memorial Coliseum at the University of Kentucky along with many others from the state who fought and died for our country.

I had my first job at 15, and I've been working hard ever since. Like many of us involved in this, I was taught that education and hard work are essential in life. I believe that our purpose is to make a better place for my family and for others. I am an alumni of the University of Kentucky where I earned my BA, MS, and Ed.S degrees. After graduating, I worked in special education for more than twenty years. 
Currently, I am an administrator at Kentucky State University and a writer. 

About eight years ago, my husband and I realized our dream of building a log home in a beautiful area in Woodford County. We wanted a peaceful place in the woods away from development. Like everyone else involved in the opposition, we've worked hard to get where we are. 

About a year ago, we began seeing heavy black helicopters flying low over our property on a frequent basis. It was a local rumor that it was law enforcement looking for marijuana patches, so we didn't think anything further of it. Interestingly, there hasn't been a single helicopter flying over our land this year that we've seen, despite the fact that we're well into what would be the growing season for that sort of activity. I suspect now that the helicopters were surveyors for the pipeline. 

We were first contacted by the company in April, 2013. We gave permission for the survey because a local government official told us that if we didn't cooperate, the company would just take our land anyway.  It would be best, he said, to negotiate with them. "You can't fight them," he said. "They have too much money." 

I trusted the official and believed the company had the right of eminent domain. But, as things progressed, I became suspicious. It was odd to me that this company did not appear to be doing the things that you would typically expect of a utility. There were no public announcements, no zoning change hearings taking place, and absolutely no one seemed to know anything about the pipeline.

My research led me to find others in the path of the pipeline who were equally concerned. I learned that this was not a public utility, that it was certainly not just a natural gas line as some of us report having been told, that Kentucky laws are not clear on eminent domain for private companies, and that I may have compromised my ability to fight an attempt at eminent domain condemnation because I had signed permission to survey. 

I have since rescinded permission, but I've also learned that the company retains those surveys anyway "in case they need them later." I have also discovered that Bluegrass Pipeline, LLC (the company I was told had eminent domain rights) requested permission to survey my land before they were even licensed to do business in Kentucky.

I began reaching out to others, and we formed a group to investigate. What we found was disturbing to us, and we've been working ever since to ensure that information is brought to the public's attention. We want everyone to have access to the information they need to make fully informed decisions. 

We want to ensure that nobody in Kentucky is forced through eminent domain to cooperate with this private, non-utility company if they don't want to. We also want, at the very least, this pipeline to undergo the same level of regulatory scrutiny in the proposal, planning, construction, and operation that any other pipeline would have to. 

Most of us would prefer that it not go through Kentucky at all given the company's safety record. Unlike the company, which exists to benefit its shareholders, many of us do not see this as "progress" per se.

I am not the leader of this group, like everyone else, I just pitched in and used what resources I have to help get the word out about what is happening. I'm not running for office. I have nothing to gain financially by fighting this. I just want to protect my family, my home equity, property values, land rights, and my and my husband's jobs. Before this, I was not an activist. I suppose I am now. I did join MoveOn.org in June in an effort to help publicize the pipeline problem.

Thankfully, many others are now coming forward and voicing their concerns as well. The media is waking up to the issue. I manage this website, but many, many people have helped in gathering the information you'll find here. Many others are putting in just as many hours as I am on this.