Amp Americas CEO Grant Zimmerman of Chicago. (Photo: Marshall Hoffman)

An overflow crowd attended the first public hearing of a proposed Stevens County Right of Way Ordinance last night at the Stevens County Courthouse. Such an ordinance is needed if a proposed biogas pipeline project is to proceed, but whether that project gets approved or not the County would like an ordinance for right of ways in place.

From Chicago, Amp Americas CEO Grant Zimmerman explained why his company takes on these projects that convert waste from dairy cows into useable transportation fuel.

Zimmerman said when you use dairy gas to fuel heavy duty trucks, it’s like taking three and a half trucks off the road. Zimmerman said his company is willing to invest $30 million into Stevens County for the project, which will provide fuel that will largely be used within the County, will provide 7 permanent jobs, 16 temporary construction jobs, increase the county tax base and create a flagship for education purposes in Minnesota, as this would be the only such project of its type in the state. Amp Americas is not seeking any money from the county.

Resident Sue Kulberg was one of those in attendance who objected to the project.

But Brad Fehr of Riverview Dairy noted that it is very rare to have a company willing to invest $30 million into the County. Hancock resident and Morris Model team member Mike Reese said that alternative projects being proposed for the dairy waste include using big trucks to haul the waste outside the County, which he noted would be an economic loss to the county as well as increasing wear and tear on the roads and contributing to more greenhouse gases. Zimmerman had noted that of 200 possible projects across the country, Amp Americas chose Morris as the one that was the most viable to proceed.

Another public hearing will be held in December.

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