Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Dan Reed
Moose Lake Star Gazette 

Pipeline proposal endorsed by board


The establishment of a pipeline corridor through Minnesota from the Bakken Oil Fields of North Dakota to Superior, Wisconsin, continues to have its ups and downs. The Carlton County Board of Commissioners at its regular September meeting approved a resolution of support for the new Line 3 rebuild to run in the preferred Enbridge pipeline corridor alongside the Sandpiper line.

Earlier this year the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) came out in support of a certificate of need for the Sandpiper line. The route of the pipeline corridor was to be considered separately and finally it was learned the route decision would be made by the MPUC next spring.

Last week a ruling by a Minnesota Appeals Court panel decided a complete environmental impact statement must be developed and the certificate of need was considered invalid until that process was completed. The MPUC has gone on record that during the oil line regulatory process earlier completed that in fact all the environmental issues had been addressed.

Enbridge and the MPUC are now considering whether to ask the Minnesota Court of Appeals for a decision on the certificate of need issue. A construction time table remains uncertain.

The Carlton County Board of Commissioners' resolution "extends its support for Enbridge's Certificate of Need and Route Permit Application for the Line 3 Replacement Project and urges the MPUC to adhere to an efficient process for the Line 3 Replacement project and approve Enbridge's proposed route." The board noted it approved the Enbridge preferred route through Carlton County and realized jobs, tax base and a safe way to move oil across the state were utmost in their minds.

In other county news, county engineer Mike Tardy reported County Road 4 from Highway 73 in western Carlton County to the Mahtowa area would be resurfaced in 2016. "Its condition is poor," observed Tardy, "and work on that road would not have lengthy preparation work. No wetlands, right-of-way, or reconstruction work would be necessary to do the work."

He went on to say, "Several of the other projects we have been considering take a lot of staff preparation time. The Swede Lake Road southeast of Cromwell has lots of wetland permitting and right-of-way issues. We hope to work on that road as a county project, which gives us more flexibility rather than following stringent state or federal guidelines."

Finally he commented, "We will see about $2 million of the ½ percent sales tax revenues addressing construction projects on our approved list of long overdue road upgrades in the 2016 summer construction season. These projects are costly but this new revenue will finally make them happen step by step."

Commissioner Gary Peterson reported at the last Automba Township meeting numerous gravel replacement and asphalt overlays on County Road 6 will be remedied in the summer of 2016. High ridges will be ground down and low spots filled. The whole road surface will be chip sealed — a process where tar will be applied and a layer of fine gravel will be spread on top. Traffic will work the loose stone into the road base. The life of the asphalt will be extended another five years longer than expected.

The county board gave Land Commissioner Greg Bernu permission to do beaver control work for townships in the county. Townships participating would have to pay for staff costs and materials. Beaver flooding problems have increased dramatically the last few years. Beaver trapping, once common, is at a low point with prices for beaver pelts at a $6 range. Timber and township roads are being damaged.


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