FACT CHECK: Did Willie Nelson and Paul Simon Get a Pipeline Rerouted?

CLAIM: Musicians Willie Nelson and Paul Simon recently co-signed an opinion column in the Houston Chronicle expressing opposition to Kinder Morgan’s Permian Highway (PHP) natural gas pipeline. The following day, Kinder Morgan CEO Steve Kean announced the company had been working with the Texas Railroad Commission and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to reroute the pipeline around the Blanco River.

Shortly thereafter, several Texas media outlets including the Abilene Reporter News and Austin American Statesman reported the news, publishing headlines like “After Willie Nelson and Paul Simon complained, CEO agrees to reroute Hill Country pipeline.”

Did an op-ed from Willie Nelson and Paul Simon actually get a pipeline rerouted – overnight?



While Willie Nelson and Paul Simon would like to think that their celebrity status could lead a company to reroute a pipeline within 24 hours, that’s not what happened.

As recently reported in the Carlsbad Current Argus, PHP-developer Kinder Morgan had been working on the minor reroute around the Blanco River for months. In fact, negotiations began with local landowners back in June – long before the duo’s op-ed was published.

Pipeline route modifications are not unusual. Developers often make minor route modifications as allowed by their permitting guidelines, as they work with landowners, local officials, and regulatory agencies like the Texas Railroad Commission and Army Corps of Engineers. This is a good example of how community engagement and environmental stewardship are at the forefront of responsible infrastructure development.

Once complete, Permian Highway will transport up to 2.1 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas from the Permian Basin to the Gulf Coast. The project is key to reducing flaring in the Permian and increasing safe, reliable access to affordable natural gas for both American consumers and our allies around the globe. Through careful coordination with regulators like the U.S. Army Corps and Railroad Commission, growing our nation’s energy infrastructure network is the safest, most efficient, and most environmentally-conscious way to deliver the natural gas and oil that fuels our economy and modern way of life.