County to deny permits for overweight pipeline trucks

The Marion County Commis?sion voted 3-0 Monday to deny TransCanada Keystone Pipeline any variance permits for overweight and overlength trucks until a representative of the company meets with them to offer assurances on how the company will correct damages to roads and on how it will tackle projects.

The commissioners said if the company wants things to progress, then that meeting should happen next week.

In addition, County Commission Chairman Dan Holub said the commissioners would support Dickinson County for as long as it takes in not allowing Keystone free range on its project until it settles in the Kansas Court of Tax Appeals whether Keystone should receive property-tax exemption.

He said Dickinson County is talking about asking $400 per road crossing from Keystone.

Acting Road and Bridge Director John Summerville said he has met with a representative of Keystone who told him the company intends to begin putting in a ?pipe yard? at 290th and Quail Creek Road, also known as the intersection of the Durham-Lincolnville Road with Ramona Road, right away.

The company would intend to start hauling pipe in December, he said.

Summerville said the representative said Keystone wants a county variance that would allow normally legal 65,000-pound truckloads to be overloaded to 80,000 pounds, each carrying two 80-foot lengths of pipe.

The commissioners discussed whether this meant the loads would also be overlength, and they questioned whether the loads might actually go up to 90,000 pounds.

?They even may approach 100,000 pounds,? Holub said.

Summerville said the representative told him the company also would be trucking in bulldozers as the project progressed. They would have ?forestry crews? operating in February and March to clear trees before spring migratory birds arrive, he said.

The pipeline is designed to carry a slurry of Canadian oil sand across the country to Cushing, Okla., where there is equipment capable of refining it. Some of it would be transported back to El Dorado before distribution, Summerville said.

Summerville said the pipeline would continue down Aulne Road through the county, traversing 37 miles in all.

Doing some quick math, he and the commissioners said that translated into well over 1,000 overweight truck loads coming through the county.

Holub said that would crush each road down, leaving an inverted horseshoe water-gathering bed that would need to be rebuilt, not just resurfaced.

Commissioner Bob Hein said the damage could be astronomical. Commissioner Randy Dallke said, ?Maybe would should just invite them to build their own gravel road through the county.?

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