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Proposed Natural Gas Line Gets Hearing

By Staff | Jan 22, 2016

The Public Works and Buildings-Infrastructure Committees met in a special session Wednesday afternoon to discuss possibilities of a natural gas line coming to Rugby.

The committees met with the general public and with Dave Blair of KLJ Engineering of Bismarck; Mark Sweeney, an engineer out of KLJ’s office in Minot; and Doug Lee, CEO of Progress Solutions, an engineering company for utility pipelines.

Lee and Blair gave a presentation on the cost effectiveness of a natural gas system, costs of converting to natural gas systems for consumers, and the potential to build main lines out of 2-inch polyethylene pipe with 3/4-inch service lines branching off of it at a cost of $1.4 million.

Lee said the next step would be do an interest survey in the community followed by a feasibility study.

Lee said the pipeline could also service communities in the surrounding area, including Towner, Granville, Velva and Bottineau. Mayor Arland Geiszler asked if those communities would have to form their own distribution system. Lee said the city of Rugby can function as a franchiser or provide as a municipal utility, controlling the gas from a separate border system.

A liquified natural gas distribution system was also discussed. Steve Dockter, of Envision, asked if a pipeline would be a better fit for businesses in the manufacturing sector. Lee said that pipelines would be able to serve the most people, and that liquified natural gas would be good for situations where the community was in a bind.

Rugby resident and business owner Sue Steinke questioned as to whether or not commercial accounts only was on the table, bringing up that the Lyric Theater doesn’t have any offset for propane heating. Lee and Blair said that the business alone would be absorbing the brunt of the costs for getting the pipeline in place.

“It’s gotta be a benefit for everybody,” Blair said.

Geiszler said the city council needs more information to be shared before its next meeting before the city can decide to go through with a feasibility study, including costs and other hard numbers.

Dockter said that the city has a limited housing market and a limited labor force and that if the city should decide to do it, it should do so with a long-term plan in mind rather than a short-term plan.

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