CLERMONT, Ky. — Plans for a new bypass and pipeline in Bullitt County might threaten a portion of Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest's land.

Bernheim officials said a natural gas pipeline proposed by LG&E will damage land that specifically affects golden eagles, endangered bats, bluff vertigo snail and rare karst species.

In an April 2019 release, LG&E said the pipeline is meant for better serving Bullitt County residents, and the company has submitted applications that were reviewed by the proper agencies.

Still, Bernheim officials said the route across the forest is protected by a conservation easement and deed restrictions that prohibit the forest's destruction for non-conservation purposes.

"The LG&E Bullitt County Natural Gas Pipeline would destroy forests, springs, streams, and outcroppings that include critical habitat for imperiled wildlife species, including four federally endangered plants and animals," Andrew Berry, director of conservation, said.

In its release, LG&E said the final route has been determined, but changes may be possible during construction.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet's plan for a new bypass connecting I-65 to I-71 also runs through Bernheim, worrying Bernheim Director Mark Wourms.

"Imagine a Gene Snyder highway running right through Bernheim," Wourms said. "They would run this through our conservation land; we're saving species and trees and clean water and clean air."

Andrea Clifford of KYTC said the planning study is only preliminary now, and nothing is definite.

WHAS11's Tyler Emery will have more on the LG&E pipeline's possible effects tonight at 5 p.m.

RELATED: Possible bypass through Bernheim Forest causes concern

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