Herald Journal Columns
March 27, 2006, Herald Journal

Who do they think they are?

By KRISTEN MILLER

During recent public meetings held by MinnCan, a project developed by the Minnesota Pipeline Company to build a new crude oil pipeline in our backyards has left local residents making a tough decision.

Land owners are being forced to negotiate an easement contract to give up their land or possible eminent domain could come into play.

The 100-foot temporary easement and 50-foot permanent easement will disrupt properties including farmland in 13 counties of central Minnesota.

Owners will only receive a one-time payment for the permanent use of their property by MinnCan.

This will not only affect crop growing next spring, but also any future developments for that land.

Yes, farmers can still grow on their land, but no permanent structures can be built on the 50-foot easements indefinitely.

Granted, a one-lump some is nice, but what about any future developments?

What if property owners wanted to sell their acreage? Who would buy it if they can’t build on it? No one. You see land all the time that is productive going into new developments. For someone who could get $50,000 for a piece of land, will now only receive $5,000 from MinnCan. For example, a lady in Scott County was offered $100,000 per acre for her land, totalling $7 million, and now that’s down the tube with the pipeline. MinnCan will give her ag land value for her property which is roughly $3,000 to $6,000 no comparison to $7 million.

I think they are asking a lot from property owners. This, to me, is a rip off. The oil companies make so much money it’s ridiculous, and now they are playing these property owners.

I am not a property owner affected by this – I’m not even a property owner – but I do think those who are affected shouldn’t give in so easily.

Property owners had no input in this pipeline and its route; they were just told, “This is what’s going on and this is what you have to do.” And now they are expected to go along with it. I think that is wrong.

Why can’t they use the already existing route? Why do they have to make a new one?

They say it’s reached its capacity and there isn’t any more room, but where is the proof?

MinnCan is only telling people what they want to hear, not what necessarily is the truth.

I think if they want residents to cooperate, they need to give more compensation because they are getting by pretty cheap.

Counties will get a yearly property tax for the use of the land, but owners will only receive a small sum. This doesn’t make sense to me.

These property owners are giving up a lot of land and signing away possible future land developments. They should be rightfully compensated.


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