Memphis City Council passes one law protecting Memphians from oil pipeline pollution.

Memphis City Council Ordinance 5795 passed on final reading by a unanimous 13-0 vote, and will create a water wellhead protection overlay in the City code. The overlay will outline a protected area around the city’s drinking water source, the Memphis Sand Aquifer, to protect it from pollution from future oil pipelines and other infrastructure near water wellheads. The ordinance covers more than a dozen uses, including oil pipelines and gas pumps, and was based on Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation guidance that listed possible contaminants…

The 1,500 foot setback ordinance has already been approved by the Shelby County Commission, and has support among some on City Council. “I don’t think you can have too much coverage to protect your water,” said Council member Rhonda Logan.  Councilman JB Smiley was also supportive, but given his legal background, he raised concerns about legal challenges from the Valero refinery, which was a partner on the Byhalia Pipeline project.

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