HJ/EDApril 3, 2006

Pipeline easements more flexible than thought, MinnCan says

By Lynda Jensen

Easements being sought from land owners for a proposed crude oil pipeline give more leeway for development than first thought, according to members of the MinnCan Project.

“You can develop the property,” commented Patty Dunn of MinnCan, in answer to land owners who are worrying about possible lower values to their properties.

For example, farmers will be able to work their crops as usual as long as simple arrangements are made with the company ahead of time, she said.

She noted that although structures can’t be built directly on the 50-foot easement, that some things such as driveways, with the proper notification, are fine. Trees, however, cannot be built over the easement.

Not enough room

Some residents have wondered why the existing easement for an existing pipeline couldn’t be used. However, Dunn says it is clear that this can’t be done because there wasn’t enough physical space for what was needed to accommodate the project.

The already existing pipeline easements are too close to developments and in some areas the 65-foot easement includes three pipelines 15 feet apart, Dunn said.

“There isn’t enough room for another pipeline,” Dunn said.

Residents who wish to propose alternative proposed routes must be set with an appropriate map and a description of the impact of the pipeline’s right-of-way.

Proposals must be submitted to the PUC by 4:30 p.m. May 30 to:

Sharon Ferguson
Department of Commerce
85 7th Place East, Suite 500
St. Paul, MN 55101-2198

or faxed to (651) 297-1959.

Minnesota Pipeline Company will compensate affected property owners for the purchase of an easement. The company will then pay the affected counties annual property taxes on the pipelines in those easements.

Property owners will be contacted and visited within two to four weeks for individual easement negotiations, according to Dunn.

Negotiations will depend on crop size, land size, type of land and the uses of it, and will be based on market value, Dunn said.

According to MinnCan, there will be 100 percent compensation for crops lost due to the construction.

If the permit is granted by the PUC, construction could begin in June 2007.

Contact MinnCan

MinnCan strongly encourages residents with questions to call its toll-free question/comment line at 877/796-7846 or e-mail info@MinnCanProject.com.

There is also information online at www.minncan.com.

The landowner contact is Julie Rasmussen at (952) 233-3332 or her mobile phone (434) 250-5030.

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