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Sandpiper deadline passes

BY Sarah smith

The deadline for public comments passed Friday, April 4, on the Sandpiper pipeline.

It is unknown if it will be extended, but for now, all public comments have been cut off.

A Public Utilities Commission employee sent the following statement in regard to a reported extension:

“I believe that there is a misunderstanding – again, please see the letters in eDockets… In both of these letters (sent from individuals), a request for an extension of the comment period was denied by the PUC, due to statutory procedural requirements,” said Anne O’Connor.

“Here are the next steps in the process:

“The deadline for comments and route proposals (was) April 4, 2014.  At that time, Commerce Department staff would compile all of the comments received and post them publicly both on the Commerce website and in eDockets. 

 “The route proposals will be reviewed by Commerce and forwarded to the Public Utilities Commission for a determination on what route proposals would be accepted for consideration at public hearing.

“The PUC will make that determination in May 2014.”

Meanwhile the heated debate over placing a 30-inch crude oil pipeline around Hubbard County continues.

Hubbard County and Hubbard County Coalition of Lakes Associations, along with numerous individuals, have requested an extended deadline until Aug. 1, 2014, so that the county’s winter snowbirds can return to their cottages and weigh in.

Opponents say the pipeline travels through sensitive lakes and wetland areas, wild rice patches and other areas that an oil spill, if it happens, would decimate.

The PUC conducted a number of hearings last month through the affected areas and got a wide mix of reactions.

But in Hubbard County, numerous interest groups showed up to oppose placement here.

Only one proponent spoke at a March 12 meeting at the Park Rapids Armory Square building.

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.

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