Lake County, BP can’t come to agreement on pipeline work
By Carrie Napoleon Post-Tribune correspondent January 21, 2013 4:38PM
George Van Til, Lake County Surveyor.
Updated: January 25, 2013 3:10PM
CROWN POINT — Talks have broken down between the Lake County surveyor’s office and BP Pipelines North American Inc. regarding maintenance work on two pipeline spans in Lake County.
Surveyor George Van Til said BP pulled its permit request in September after refusing to comply with the county’s initial response that the pipeline to be worked on be placed 5 feet underground or a subsequent compromise that would have allowed the pipe to stay above ground.
“It’s a little disheartening,” Van Til said.
Van Til said after the county agreed to a compromise, BP would pull its permit request and refuse to cooperate. He said the requirement placed on BP was the same as that placed on the half dozen pipelines that run across county drains when they come before his office for a permit.
For the past 10 years it has been routine to request the drains be buried. Recently Enbridge agreed to bury its pipelines crossing drains and increase the thickness of its pipelines in the county.
“I would hope (BP) would take a page from the other pipelines and come back and work this out,” Van Til said.
For now the issue has moved on to the attorneys.
Drainage Board Attorney Clifford Duggan in December wrote to BP that performing work or placing structures within a regulated drain or its easement which in any way affects the proper operation of the drain or its easement must be approved by the board.
“Therefore the board respectfully insists that BP does not preemptively perform any type of activity in a regulated drain or within its easement and that BP continue to provide information regarding what work in fact BP proposed to perform,” Duggan wrote.
In a Jan. 11 letter V. Samuel Laurin III, attorney for BP, countered the work to be performed on the above-ground pipe owned and operated by BP was maintenance work.
“Because the maintenance work would not have interfered with the drain, BP had no obligation to request the permit, but simply did so as a matter of courtesy,” Laurin wrote.
Van Til said it is not for BP to decide what would or would not interfere with Lake County taxpayers’ drains.
Attorneys for BP could not immediately be reached for comment.