A letter from Stevens County asking the Minnesota Department of Transportation for exceptions to the Utility Accomodations Manual was approved by the County’s Board of Commissioners at their meeting last week in an effort to protect funding on State Aid Roads. The Exception would allow for the County to consider approving a proposed biogas pipeline project by AMP Americas to use the County’s Right of Ways, but the approval did not come without debate.
Commissioner Jeanne Ennen questioned if the project would meet requirements for easements, those tracts of land the County has legally acquired over the decades through lack of use.
Stevens County Attorney Aaron Jordan responded that while this may feel like something new or that the County does not have the right to utilize a Right of Way in this manner, the County is on solid legal ground.
Jordan noted that no one would have thought of using Right of Ways in this way until this project came along.
Commissioner Bob Kopitzke called for flexibility in dealing with these matters, suggesting that nothing would get done in the County if issues were not looked at on a case by case basis.
The letter to MNDOT is just one step in a long process for the project. The County expects a response in six to eight weeks.