ROCKFORD, Minn., Nov. 26 (UPI) — Tree clearance began this week for a natural gas pipeline cutting across a Minnesota park and wildlife preserve, officials said.
Northern Natural Gas of Omaha agreed to move the pipeline to the edge of Rebecca Lake Park Preserve, avoiding the center, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported Thursday. But almost 5,000 trees, some 100 years old, will be cut to form a 4-mile corridor, 30 yards across, for the pipeline.
“It could have been worse,” said John Barten, director of natural resources for the Three Rivers Park District. “We would have had a pipeline right through the center of the forest. We appreciate the fact that they were willing to take a less direct route through the park and allow us to protect more critical habitat.”
A pipeline constructed in the 1960s already crossed the preserve in Rockford, and the park district lawyers said that meant Northern Natural Gas had to be allowed to run the new one through it.
The construction schedule aims to avoid disturbing winter nesting by the great horned owl. Northern Natural Gas also agreed, in a settlement, to replant native plant species.
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