Byhalia Pipeline bill to go before Tennessee House, Senate committees today

Published: Mar. 8, 2022 at 6:00 AM CST|Updated: Mar. 8, 2022 at 6:01 AM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Activists who opposed the Byhalia Pipeline are concerned their fight could be revived under a new bill going through the Tennessee legislature.

They believe a new amendment added last week would make it easier to build a pipeline.

The Byhalia pipeline would have connected the Valero oil refinery in South Memphis to Byhalia, Mississippi but the company canceled the project last summer. A new bill, though, is causing concern for activists.

In general, House Bill 2246 calls for an evaluation of the infrastructure of utilities operating in the state. This includes pipelines. An amendment added to the bill would prevent localities from creating zoning laws that prohibit the creation of infrastructure, such as pipelines, through their communities.

The bill was brought forth in January by State Representative Kevin Vaughan of Collierville. Last week he said it would be critical for infrastructure.

“We’re seeing now how we have issues with our supply chain, particularly due to international events,” said Vaughan. “This is a situation where it’s bigger than just a community. This is vital to our nation’s infrastructure.”

Those in opposition say the bill could allow the creation of the Byhalia Pipeline and others because localities wouldn’t have control over zoning laws to protect their communities and drinking water sources.

Action News 5 reached out to Plains All American who says the cancellation of the Byhalia Pipeline project still stands. The bill is set to go before the Tennessee House and Senate commerce committees Tuesday.

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