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Hubbard County votes to ask Enbridge to reroute Sandpiper pipeline

PARK RAPIDS -- The Hubbard County Board voted 3-2 on Tuesday to ask Enbridge to route the proposed Sandpiper pipeline around the county.

The commissioners signed -- to loud applause -- a resolution in support of the Friends of the Headwaters group asking the Canadian company to reroute the Sandpiper pipeline around the county’s lakes and streams.

The board appeared divided 2-2 until commissioner Dan Stacey sided with the “yes” group.

Board chair Kathy Grell and commissioner Cal Johannsen voted no. Grell said the board had made a decision “early on” to stay politically neutral and she felt voting on the resolution compromised the board’s position.

Friends of the Headwaters president Richard Smith said the resolution didn’t ask the board for a position on the pipeline but simply to ask the company to route it around the area’s lakes and rivers.

It is unclear what clout the county will have with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, which is in charge of the decision on a route and whether the pipeline will be built. The PUC will next address the proposed pipeline at a meeting Thursday.

But as some property owners in the county worry about the potential pipeline, Enbridge has

purchased 11 leases in the county along the proposed route.

Opponents want to halt the pipeline or reroute it far from Hubbard County.

“To us, they couldn’t have picked a worse place for the pipeline,” Smith said.

About 70 people attended Tuesday’s meeting.

Sarah Smith

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

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