Titan Partners not halting Dickson County fuel facility plans

Titan Partners not halting Dickson County fuel facility plans.

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Houston-based Buckeye Partners LP is behind a proposed 150-acre fuel terminal on a vacant parcel southwest of the I-40/I-840 interchange in Dickson County. This photo shows an engineering drawing of the proposed facility. SEAN BARRY

Titan Partners still has plans to build its proposed fuel terminal in Burns despite the Dickson County Commission and the Kingston Springs Board of Commissioners passing resolutions against the project.

“Titan Partners is disappointed with these decisions. However, we continue moving ahead on several key aspects of the project while we evaluate the best path forward to secure all necessary approvals,” the company said in a statement.

The Dickson County Commission voted on its resolution Aug. 17, and the Kingston Springs board voted three days later. There was no dissent in either vote.

While some Dickson County residents fear land grabs, truck noise, traffic congestion, explosions and drops in property values, there are also concerns about environmental hazards which could flow across county lines to Fairview.

Some opponents of the fuel facility are concerned about possible contamination of the Water Authority of Dickson County’s drinking water supply. They claim an accident at the proposed facility could spill fuel into the watershed for the WADC’s Turnbull treatment plant.

The WADC provides drinking water to Fairview and about 75 percent of Dickson County’s population, as well as customers in Hickman County, according to the WADC website.

WADC Executive Director Mike Adams said in an email that the Turnbull plant is “within the drainage basin” of the proposed fuel terminal, and that the WADC has requested copies of Buckeye/Titan’s “Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) plans” as required by law.

The resolutions passed by Dickson and Kingston Springs have no legal effect regarding the rights of the company, but rather, express the opinions of the legislative bodies.

The Dickson County resolution opposes the “establishment and operation” of the planned depot. The resolution says that the proposed terminal would be detrimental to the environment and out of step with current land uses in the area, a residential community that includes farms, woodlands and creeks.

“These resolutions show the residents that the commissioners are being proactive and are listening to the residents’ concerns. It sends a unified message to Titan that they are not welcome to come pollute our water, roads, and air,” said Dickson lawyer Rodger Waynick, who represents many opponents of the project.

Titan has said that up to 100 tanker trucks a day are planned to go between Highway 46 and the proposed terminal.

Buckeye Partners said in an email that it was exploring its options after the most recent county votes that denied the company a site plan application and also place truck weight restrictions on the road leading to the proposed site.

Tim Potter, the county attorney handling matters pertaining to the fuel terminal, said by email that his office is not aware of any new filings regarding the proposed project.

The fuel terminal plan did not appear on the agendas for the Aug. 4, Aug. 13 or Aug. 17 meetings of the Board of Zoning Appeals, Planning Commission, or the mayor and County Commission, respectively.

The Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation issued a construction permit July 23 for the fuel terminal.

Background on Buckeye

IFM Investors of Melbourne, Australia bought Buckeye Partners last year in a $10.3 billion deal, according to press releases issued by the companies at the time.

Houston-based Buckeye, through subsidiary Titan Partners, is the company proposing to build a fuel terminal in unincorporated Burns.

IFM and Buckeye announced their proposed merger in May 2019. The deal was approved by Buckeye’s shareholders that summer and completed last November.

When the sale was finalized, Buckeye had itself taken off the New York Stock Exchange, where its shares had been traded under the ticker symbol BPL.

IFM is owned by 27 “world-leading” pension funds, according to its website. The Australian company has more than $100 billion under management, which is invested globally, much of it in infrastructure.

“Buckeye represents a natural extension of IFM’s expertise in investing in, operating and growing essential midstream energy infrastructure in North America,” said Jamie Cemm, IFM executive director, in a Nov. 1 press release announcing finalization of the deal. “Buckeye is a great company with a rich history, and we look forward to steering the team and company through the next phase of the U.S. and global energy evolution.”

In addition to its headquarters in Melbourne, IFM has offices in New York, London, Zurich, Sydney, Berlin, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Seoul.

IFM spokeswoman Kristin Cole said by email that the company is privately held and therefore does not file publicly available reports to regulators containing detailed financial statements.

Buckeye no longer files those types of reports with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission because Buckeye is not publicly traded anymore. Buckeye filed its last quarterly report, known as a 10-Q, on the day the sale was finalized nearly 10 months ago.

Buckeye’s assets acquired by IFM include about 6,000 miles of pipeline in the United States, along with about 115 domestic fuel terminals, several global marine terminals and other installations, according to Buckeye’s website.

Follow the pipeline

The Burns depot proposal calls for tapping an Indiana-to-Alabama petroleum pipeline to fill up planned multimillion-gallon tanks, with the stored fuel then pumped into tanker trucks for deliveries to gas stations.

The pipeline and the refinery that would provide the fuel are owned by BP, the London-based company formerly known as British Petroleum.

The pipeline starts at BP’s Whiting Refinery on the Lake Michigan shoreline in northwest Indiana, just outside Chicago, BP spokeswoman Sarah Howell said. The pipeline runs to Decatur in north-central Alabama, where BP previously owned a petrochemical plant, she said.

The pipeline became operational in 1977 and was used solely to supply the Alabama plant, Howell said. She said nothing is flowing in the pipeline now, but that BP has maintained the pipeline in accordance with federal regulations.

She said the pipeline is eight inches in diameter.

The U.S. Department of Energy lists the Whiting Refinery as the sixth-largest refinery in the nation — the biggest one that is not located on the Gulf Coast. BP operates in 70 countries and says the Whiting Refinery is its largest.

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