Many of the questions from the public about a proposed Right of Way Ordinance for Stevens County at a special hearing Monday night had to do with easements and the County’s authority to set a Right of Way ordinance. About 20 people attended the hearing at the Stevens County Courthouse, including stakeholders in a proposed $30 million biogas pipeline project.
Some concerns were raised about whether such a project is for public or private good. Stevens County Coordinator Rebecca Young told the KMRS Community Connection program that there aren’t many state laws on this topic that can guide the County through the process.
Young noted that the Department of Transportation would treat the pipeline as a private entity, while the Department of Revenue takes the opposite position and says it will tax it like a public utility.
Irrespective of whether the pipeline project is approved, the County Commissioners wanted to have a Right of Way Ordinance in place for all purposes going forward. They approved the ordinance after the public hearing. Comments on the ordinance can still be made for the next few weeks at the County. If there are no comments, it will then become law.