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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

CHAPTER 216G. PIPELINES

Table of Sections
Section Headnote
216G.01 DEFINITIONS.
216G.02 ROUTING OF CERTAIN PIPELINES.
216G.03 PIPELINE PROPOSAL; EASEMENT ACQUISITION.
216G.04 INFORMATION BOOK.
216G.05 PUBLIC MEETINGS REQUIRED.
216G.06 INTERSTATE GAS PIPELINES EXEMPT UNDER FEDERAL LAW.
216G.07 PROTECTING PUBLIC FACILITIES AND AGRICULTURAL LAND.
216G.08 LIMITATION OF LIABILITY.
216G.09 REVERSION OF EASEMENTS.
216G.10 RECORDING OF SURVEY POINTS.
216G.11 SEVERABILITY.
216G.12 SAVINGS PROVISION.

216G.01 DEFINITIONS.

Subdivision 1.Scope.

As used in this chapter, the terms defined in this section have the meanings given them, unless otherwise provided or indicated by the context.

Subd. 2.Construction.

"Construction" means any clearing of land, excavation, or other action that would adversely affect the natural environment of a pipeline route but does not include changes needed for temporary use of a route for purposes other than installation of a pipeline, for securing survey or geological data, for the repair or replacement of an existing pipeline within the existing right-of-way, or for the minor relocation of less than three-quarters of a mile of an existing pipeline.

Subd. 3.Pipeline.

"Pipeline" means a pipeline located in this state which is used to transport natural or synthetic gas at a pressure of more than 90 pounds per square inch, or to transport crude petroleum or petroleum fuels or oil or their derivatives, coal, anhydrous ammonia or any mineral slurry to a distribution center or storage facility which is located within or outside of this state. "Pipeline" does not include a pipeline owned or operated by a natural gas public utility as defined in section 216B.02, subdivision 4.

Subd. 4.Cultivated agricultural land.

"Cultivated agricultural land" means land which is used to raise agricultural crops, is capable of use for that purpose or is plowed, fallow or contains harvested crop residue or is pasture land.

216G.02 ROUTING OF CERTAIN PIPELINES.

Subdivision 1.Definition.

For purposes of this section and notwithstanding section 216G.01, subdivision 3, "pipeline" means:

(1) pipe with a nominal diameter of six inches or more that is designed to transport hazardous liquids, but does not include pipe designed to transport a hazardous liquid by gravity, and pipe designed to transport or store a hazardous liquid within a refining, storage, or manufacturing facility; or

(2) pipe designed to be operated at a pressure of more than 275 pounds per square inch and to carry gas.

Subd. 2.Prohibition.

A person may not construct a pipeline without a pipeline routing permit issued by the Public Utilities Commission unless the pipeline is exempted from the commission's routing authority under this section or rules adopted under this section. A pipeline requiring a permit may only be constructed on a route designated by the commission.

Subd. 3.Rules.

(a) The Public Utilities Commission shall adopt rules governing the routing of pipelines. The rules apply only to the route of pipelines and may not set safety standards for the construction of pipelines.

(b) The rules must:

(1) require that a person proposing construction of a pipeline submit to the commission one preferred route for the pipeline and evidence of consideration of alternatives;

(2) provide for notice of proposed pipeline routes to local units of government and to owners and lessees of property along the routes being considered;

(3) provide for public hearings on proposed pipeline routes, which may follow the commission's procedures for public hearings on proposed power line routes and electrical generating plant sites;

(4) provide criteria that the commission will use in determining pipeline routes, which must include the existence of populated areas, consideration of local government land use laws including ordinances adopted under section 299J.05, and the impact of the proposed pipeline on the natural environment;

(5) provide a procedure that the commission will follow in issuing pipeline routing permits and require the commission to issue the permits within nine months after the permit application is received by the commission, unless the commission extends this deadline for cause;

(6) provide for the payment of fees by persons proposing to construct pipelines to cover the costs of the commission in implementing this section;

(7) allow the commission to provide exemptions from all or part of the pipeline routing permit application process in emergencies or if the commission determines that the proposed pipeline will not have a significant impact on humans or the environment;

(8) require exemption determinations to be made within 90 days after an application; and

(9) require that a person who has constructed a pipeline, to the extent possible, restore the area affected by the pipeline to the natural conditions that existed immediately before construction of the pipeline, provided that this restoration is compatible with the safe operation, maintenance, and inspection of the pipeline.

(c) The rules do not apply to temporary use of a route for purposes other than installation of a pipeline, to securing survey or geological data, to repair or replacement of an existing pipeline within the existing right-of-way, or to minor relocation of less than three-quarters of a mile of an existing pipeline. The rules do not apply to construction of new pipeline in a right-of-way in which pipeline has been constructed before July 1, 1988, or in a right-of-way that has been approved by the commission after July 1, 1988, except when the commission determines that there is a significant chance of an adverse effect on the environment or that there has been a significant change in land use or population density in or near the right-of-way since the first construction of pipeline in the right-of-way, or since the commission first approved the right-of-way.

Subd. 4.Primary responsibility and regulation of route designation.

The issuance of a pipeline routing permit under this section and subsequent purchase and use of the route locations is the only site approval required to be obtained by the person owning or constructing the pipeline. The pipeline routing permit supersedes and preempts all zoning, building, or land use rules, regulations, or ordinances promulgated by regional, county, local, and special purpose governments.

216G.03 PIPELINE PROPOSAL; EASEMENT ACQUISITION.

Subdivision 1.Compliance; penalty.

Any person proposing to construct or operate a pipeline shall comply with the provisions of this section before negotiating or acquiring any easement or right-of-way agreement for that purpose. Any person who negotiates or acquires an easement without complying with the provisions of this section is guilty of a gross misdemeanor.

Subd. 2.When routing permit required.

Any person proposing to construct or operate a pipeline for which a pipeline routing permit is not required under section 216G.02, shall so notify the Public Utilities Commission and the county board of each county through which the pipeline will be constructed. The notice shall include a description of the route on which the pipeline is proposed to be located, the size and type of pipeline to be constructed, the types of commodities to be carried and the construction and operational characteristics of the pipeline. The proposed route shall be described in sufficient detail so that the owners or lessees of property on which the route is located can be identified. Notice to the Public Utilities Commission shall be accompanied by a fee of $25,000 for preparation of an information book as provided in section 216G.04 and for expenses incurred by state agencies to participate in public meetings as provided in section 216G.05. All fees received are appropriated to the Public Utilities Commission for its own use and for distribution to state agencies for these purposes. The Public Utilities Commission shall refund any amount that exceeds the actual cost to the commission of preparing the information book, including necessary revisions, and to state agencies for participating in the public meetings.

If the pipeline route described in the notice is changed to the extent that, in any county, 20 percent or more of the owners or lessees of property on which the new route is located were not owners or lessees of property on which the other route was located, the person proposing to construct and operate the pipeline shall notify the Public Utilities Commission and the county board of that county of the change in the proposed route. No additional fee shall be required for a notice of change of a proposed route.

Subd. 3.When routing permit not required.

(a) If a pipeline routing permit is not required for construction of a pipeline under section 216G.02, a person may not negotiate or acquire an easement or right-of-way agreement for the purpose of constructing and operating a pipeline until 30 days after:

(1) a public meeting has been held as provided in section 216G.05 in the county in which the right-of-way in question is located; and

(2) that person has provided to the owner or lessee from whom the easement or agreement is acquired a copy of the information book prepared pursuant to section 216G.04.

(b) If the original information book is revised pursuant to section 216G.04, each owner or lessee of property which the original route did not affect shall be provided with a copy of the revised book.

216G.04 INFORMATION BOOK.

(a) Within 45 days after receiving the notification and fee required by section 216G.03, the Public Utilities Commission shall prepare and make available to the person proposing to construct the pipeline sufficient copies of an information book for owners and lessees of property along the pipeline route. The commission may allow the person proposing the pipeline to prepare the book at that person's own expense subject to approval of the book by the commission.

(b) The information book shall contain at least the following information:

(1) a description of the pipeline proposed for construction, including the proposed route, types of commodities to be carried, size of the line and construction and operational characteristics;

(2) explanation of the steps which must be taken to acquire right-of-way for the pipeline and of the rights and alternatives of the owner;

(3) explanation of the legal requirements that must be met in constructing the pipeline; and

(4) explanation of the county inspection procedure and instructions for contacting the inspector in the event of noncompliance with legal requirements.

(c) Within 45 days after receiving notification of a change in a proposed route, the commission shall prepare and make available or shall approve a revision of the original information book so that a description of the new route and any other required information relevant to the new route is incorporated in the book.

216G.05 PUBLIC MEETINGS REQUIRED.

(a) Within 60 days of receiving notification as provided in section 216G.03, the county board of each county in which the pipeline route is proposed to be located shall hold a public meeting as provided in this section. If a county board receives a required notification of a change in the proposed pipeline route in that county, the board shall hold an additional public meeting as provided in this section within 30 days after receiving that notification. The purpose of a public meeting held pursuant to this section shall be to provide information to the public concerning:

(1) the pipeline proposed for construction, including the proposed route, the size of the pipeline, types of commodities to be carried and construction and operating characteristics; and

(2) the legal requirements which must be met in acquiring easements and in constructing and operating the pipeline.

(b) Notice and agenda of the public meeting shall be given by the county board at least ten days but no earlier than 45 days before the meetings. Notice shall be by publication in a legal newspaper of the county and a newspaper of general circulation in the area in which the public meeting is to be held and written notice to the clerk of each town and incorporated municipality in the county.

(c) State agencies authorized to issue permits required for construction or operation of the pipeline shall participate in the public meetings in each county. The agencies shall explain the procedures for issuing the permits and the manner in which the public may participate in those procedures.

History:

1979 c 194 s 4

216G.06 INTERSTATE GAS PIPELINES EXEMPT UNDER FEDERAL LAW.

Any person that proposes to construct or operate an interstate natural gas pipeline and that has power to acquire an easement or right-of-way agreement for that pipeline by an action in eminent domain under the authority of the federal Natural Gas Act, United States Code, title 15, chapter 15B, shall not be required to comply with the provisions of sections 216G.02 to 216G.05 as a condition of acquiring the easement, right-of-way, or route.

216G.07 PROTECTING PUBLIC FACILITIES AND AGRICULTURAL LAND.

Subdivision 1.Depth of cover.

Unless waived in the manner provided in subdivisions 2 or 3, any pipeline installed after May 26, 1979, shall be buried with a minimum level cover of not less than 4-1/2 feet in all areas where the pipeline crosses the right-of-way of any public drainage facility or any county, town or municipal street or highway and where the pipeline crosses cultivated agricultural land. Where the pipeline crosses the right-of-way of any drainage ditch, the pipeline shall be at least 4-1/2 feet below the authorized depth of the ditch, unless waived in the manner provided in subdivisions 2 and 3.

Subd. 2.Waiver of depth requirement.

In any easement granting right-of-way for a pipeline over cultivated agricultural land the grantor of the easement may waive the minimum depth of cover requirement of subdivision 1 with respect to all or part of the pipeline to be buried under that land. A waiver of the minimum depth of cover requirement of subdivision 1 shall be effective only if the waiver:

(a) is separately and expressly stated in the easement agreement and includes an express statement by the grantor acknowledging that the grantor has read and understood the waiver;

(b) is printed in capital letters and in language understandable to an average person not learned in law; and

(c) is separately signed or initialed by the grantor.

Subd. 3.Waiver and rules of political subdivisions.

Any political subdivision authorized by law to approve the use of the right-of-way of any public drainage facility or any public street or highway for a pipeline may:

(1) waive the minimum depth of cover requirement of subdivision 1 if the depth of cover or other means approved for the use of the right-of-way adequately protects the health and safety of the public; or

(2) adopt and enforce by ordinance or resolution reasonable rules or regulations establishing a greater depth of cover than the minimum required in subdivision 1 and other measures for protection of public roads and drainage facilities under their jurisdiction.

Subd. 4.Interstate gas pipelines; exemption.

Subdivisions 1 to 3 shall not apply to interstate natural gas pipelines subject to safety regulations under the federal Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act of 1968, Public Law 90-481, as amended.

Subd. 5.Agricultural protection standards.

A county board may establish by ordinance reasonable standards and conditions for pipeline construction which are necessary to protect and restore cultivated agricultural land crossed by a pipeline and to mitigate the adverse impact of pipeline construction on the productive use of that land. The standards may include but shall not be limited to standards and conditions concerning restoration of drainage tile and drainage patterns, soil compaction and removal of rocks and debris after construction. A county adopting standards and conditions for pipeline construction shall consult with adjacent counties and other counties in the same development region and shall endeavor to adopt standards and conditions which are reasonably uniform with standards and conditions in adjacent counties and in other counties in that region.

Subd. 6.Inspection fee.

Before beginning construction a person proposing to construct a pipeline shall pay an inspection fee to the treasurer of each county through which the pipeline will be constructed. The fee shall be in the amount of $500 for each mile or fraction of a mile of pipeline that will be constructed in the county.

Subd. 7.County inspector.

The county board of each county through which a pipeline will be constructed shall designate an inspector who shall conduct on-site inspections of the construction to determine whether the pipeline is constructed in compliance with the provisions of this section and ordinances or resolutions adopted pursuant to this section. The inspector shall promptly report to the county board any failure or refusal to comply with the provisions of this section or ordinances or resolutions adopted pursuant to this section and shall issue a written notice to the person constructing the pipeline specifying the violation and the action to be taken in order to comply.

During on-site inspection the inspector shall maintain a written log which shall include a record of comments and complaints concerning the pipeline construction made by owners and lessees of land crossed by the pipeline and by local officials. The log shall note in particular any complaints concerning failure to settle damage claims filed by any owner or lessee or failure to comply with the terms of an easement agreement. The log, reports and other records of the inspector shall be preserved by the county board.

Subd. 8.Equitable relief.

The provisions of subdivision 1 or of ordinances or resolutions adopted pursuant to subdivisions 3 and 5 may be enforced by injunction, action to compel performance or other appropriate equitable relief in the district court of the county in which the violation occurs. The relief may be sought by petition of the county attorney or the attorney of the political subdivision that adopted the ordinance or resolution violated or in which the violation occurs.

Subd. 9.Criminal penalty.

Any person who violates the provisions of subdivision 1 or any ordinance or resolution adopted pursuant to subdivisions 3 and 5 is guilty of a misdemeanor for each offense.

Subd. 10.Civil penalty.

When the court finds that any person has violated the provisions of subdivision 1 or any ordinance or resolution adopted pursuant to subdivisions 3 and 5 or has violated any court order issued under subdivision 8 the court may impose a civil penalty of not more than $5,000 for each violation. These penalties shall be paid to the county in which the violation occurred.

History:

1979 c 194 s 6; 1986 c 444

216G.08 LIMITATION OF LIABILITY.

Subdivision 1.General rule.

Any owner or lessee of any real property or any person acting with the authority of that owner or lessee who, in the ordinary conduct of agricultural operations upon that property, causes any injury to any underground pipeline, shall not be liable for any of the direct or incidental costs of repairing, restoring or replacing the pipeline in the absence of a showing of gross negligence or willful or wanton misconduct.

"Ordinary conduct of agricultural operations," as that term is used in this subdivision, does not include well drilling or other excavation but includes the installation or repair of agricultural drainage tile subject to the provisions of subdivision 2.

Subd. 2.Notice requirement.

A person who installs or repairs agricultural drainage tile shall be relieved of liability as provided in subdivision 1 only if that person gives oral or written notice to the one call excavation notice system in compliance with section 216D.04.

216G.09 REVERSION OF EASEMENTS.

Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, all easement interests acquired after May 26, 1979 for the purpose of constructing and operating a pipeline shall revert to the then fee owner if the pipeline ceases operation for a period of five years.

History:

1979 c 194 s 8

216G.10 RECORDING OF SURVEY POINTS.

The permanent location of monuments or markers found or placed in a survey of right-of-way for a pipeline route shall be placed on record in the office of the county recorder or registrar of titles by the owner of the pipeline. No fee shall be charged for recording this information.

History:

1979 c 194 s 9

216G.11 SEVERABILITY.

If any provision of this chapter is found to be unconstitutional and void with respect to pipelines transporting one or more of the substances enumerated in section 216G.01, subdivision 3, the provision shall remain effective with respect to pipelines transporting any of the other enumerated substances. This provision shall supplement any general law on the subject of severability.

History:

1979 c 194 s 10

216G.12 SAVINGS PROVISION.

Sections 216G.03 to 216G.05 shall not apply to a pipeline if, on or before May 26, 1979:

(1) an application for a certificate of need has been filed for the pipeline pursuant to section 216B.243 and easements have been acquired for at least 85 percent of the length of the proposed pipeline right-of-way; or

(2) an environmental impact statement has been prepared, pursuant to chapter 116D concerning the construction of the pipeline and the Public Utilities Commission has determined that the statement is adequate under that chapter.