Williams County Administration Building Left file photo

Williams County Commissioners will be sending a letter to the Public Service Commission regarding an unmarked pipeline in Williams County.

The unmarked line, which now belongs to Kinder Morgan, crosses the northeast quadrant of a 160-acre parcel of farm land in Tyrone Township. While the line is now owned by Kinder Morgan, it was installed by different company. The line was among $3 billion in infrastructure that Kinder purchased from Hiland Crude Oil in 2015.

Dorothy Kuester told Williams County Commissioners that the line was one of the many “bad things” that happened during the boom.

“There’s a long history with this pipeline that goes back to about 2015,” she said, adding, “It was the first pipeline we let through our property, and we have learned a lot since then.”

A few years after the pipeline was placed in 2012, Dorothy said she and her husband received a letter saying the pipeline was in an avoidance area.

“(That) means in an area too close to residential homes,” she said.

Dorothy and her husband hired an attorney, who found the pipeline also wasn’t recorded in the right place.

“We had to begin the process of getting it revoked and getting a new recording,” she said. “This is what was so surprising to me. I would have thought that they would have recorded the pipeline in its entirety, and they didn’t. They stopped at the corner posts at the end of my property.”

That leaves the line unmarked in places that are avoidance areas, Kuester said, including about 100 feet from her mother’s home, as well as a neighbor’s home across the road from the Kuester’s.

The Public Service Commission defines anything within 500 feet of an occupied residence as an avoidance area for pipelines.

Kuester told commissioners she doesn’t want to interfere with the conditional use permit for the gravel pit, particularly as the line is far enough away from the proposed gravel mining area that One Call didn’t feel it necessary to mark the line.

“It’s a little hard, but I think I can probably leave it up to the landowner to do due diligence and see if he can get this taken care of,” she said. “And it’s hard to understand. Bad things happened during those times and this is just an example.”

Commissioners asked Kuester what they could do to help matters along, so that the line gets correctly marked for those who are living along its route.

Kuester said she had already contacted the Public Service Commission about the matter at one point. That resulted in a letter being sent to her that sought her and her husband’s signature to OK the line being in an avoidance area.

“And that’s what ended up a legal issue that began to cost us money, you know,” she said.

Commissioner David Montgomery suggested sending a letter signed by all five commissioners to the Public Service Commission.

“I’m going to get on my high horse here,” Montgomery said. “The Public Service Commission is responsible for that pipeline. They should have had inspectors out here inspecting that pipeline. To me, this is another perfect example of somebody sitting in an office in Bismarck approving something that does not know what’s going on out here.”

Commissioners ultimately unanimously approved the conditional use permit for the Selland Gravel Pit in Tyrone Township, and a separate measure directingSpecial Assistant States Attorney Karen Prout to write a letter to the Public Service Commission that all five commissioners will sign.

Karen Prout

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