County Gets $375,000 To Fix Damaged Roads

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Montgomery County has received $375,000 to repair roads damaged by 2016 Dakota Access pipeline construction, the newspaper learned on Wednesday, May 22, through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

The county had originally estimated road repair costs to be around $800,000.  As part of the signed settlement agreement and release, the county has agreed to release the $3.5 million bond posted by the pipeline.

Under the terms of a confidentiality clause in the settlement agreement, the pipeline company had required the county to "keep the specific terms and conditions of this release strictly confidential" and "not disclose such terms and conditions to any third party at any time," except as required by law.  The Freedom of Information Act is such a law.

A FOIA request was originally filed by The Journal-News on April 11, but that request was denied on April 18 because the settlement agreement had not been finalized, according to Montgomery County FOIA officer Wes Poggenpohl.  According to the agreement's signature page, it was not signed by pipeline officials until April 25.  A subsequent newspaper FOIA request submitted on May 17 for the settlement agreement was furnished on May 22.

According to county engineer Cody Greenwood, the $375,000 from Dakota Access will be used to repair pipeline "haul routes" in the southwest part of the county where the pipeline was buried.

"We've actually done some work already using motor fuel tax (MFT) money," Greenwood said.  Not all of the haul route roads will be repaired this year, however work on Mt. Moriah Avenue will begin next week using county highway department staff.

Construction on the nearly 1,200-mile pipeline from North Dakota to the transfer terminal near Patoka began in June 2016.  The pipeline was completed by April 2017 and became commercially operational on June 1, 2017, with a capacity of over a half million barrels of oil a day.

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