Plantation Pipe Line Company owns and operates a 3,100-mile refined petroleum products system serving the southeastern United States. Plantation endeavors to detect and prevent leaks from occurring on its pipeline system. Plantation maintains a rigorous pipeline integrity program which has been inspected and audited by the Pipeline and Hazardous Safety Administration (PHMSA).
Plantation is a subsidiary of Kinder Morgan, Inc., which is the largest energy infrastructure company in North America, and owns an interest in or operates approximately 84,000 miles of pipelines and approximately 165 terminals. Contrary to many of the exaggerated, misleading and irrelevant descriptions of incidents included in the plaintiffs' complaint, Kinder Morgan is committed to operational excellence and invests millions of dollars each year on integrity management and maintenance programs to operate our assets safely. Kinder Morgan demonstrates its commitment by reporting its environmental, health and safety performance to the public and comparing its performance data to its peers and to its own previous three years of performance. See http://www.kindermorgan.com/pages/ehs/ehs_performance/default.aspx. Kinder Morgan outperforms industry averages in almost all safety and release-related categories.
On the rare occasion when, despite all its efforts, there is a leak on the pipeline, Plantation's response is to immediately address the spill and fairly compensate the landowners or affected persons for any losses caused by the spill. Our analysis of the area of this spill indicates that 15-35 acres of the plaintiffs' property will be impacted by Plantation's cleanup efforts. Plantation has offered to purchase these impacted acres at their appraised value, or fully compensate the plaintiffs for any lost crops or lost rental income on those acres for as long as the cleanup interferes with the farming operations. We have also offered to indemnify the landowners for any claims arising out of the spill. In short, Plantation has promised that the site will be cleaned and the plaintiffs will be made whole.
Nevertheless, the plaintiffs elected to file suit when Plantation rejected their demand to be paid an outrageous amount which was completely divorced from reality. Plantation will not negotiate a settlement that is based on unrealistic appraisals, an unsupported threat of punitive damages, or a desire to collect an unjustified windfall from the incident. While we regret that the plaintiffs' property has been impacted by the release, this unfortunate incident should not be used as an opportunity for them to seek an outrageous and unjustified windfall.