Thursday, February 15, 2007

Pioneer Press on the MinnCan pipeline

The Pioneer Press also is carrying a piece on the pipeline today. It's not as hard hitting as the Startribune piece though.

"The offers … are so ridiculously low, it's pitiful," said Joyce H. Osborn, a Burnsville real estate broker who owns 105 acres in Scott County. "It's a real mess."

Some homeowners have tried in vain to persuade the company to buy their properties outright, rather than purchase easements they fear will lower their land's potential selling price.

Officials with the company say their representatives have made fair offers that more than 70 percent of landowners have accepted. If the commission approves the pipeline, the company could attempt to seize easement rights from the remaining landowners through eminent domain proceedings.

Check out the Strib piece for the coercive nature that assisted the company in obtaining 70%.

Since 1989, the Statutes surrounding these issues were relaxed to allow a more streamlined process.

MPIRG and other critics note that the project's "environmental review document" was largely written by Minnesota Pipeline Co. itself and later approved by the commission's staff.

"Several members of the public were critical of this method … because the analysis was not conducted by an independent entity, but by the company," wrote Administrative Law Judge Beverly Heydinger in Nov. 17 findings supporting the need for a new pipeline.

Frankly, its a classic case of handing the keys of the asylum to the inmates.

I am troubled by how much the Administrative Law judges have witnessed and are still allowing this pipeline to go forward. The Strib piece outlines the use of coercive tactics and now the Pioneer Press talks about the streamlined environmental process the company was able to use.

They checked off on this project themselves.

I have contacted my locally elected officials and have gotten a few responses. I will be meeting with some of them in the coming week or so and I will ask for some sort of legislative oversight on the issue.

I'd love for this project to have to go before a few House and Senate committee's.

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