BAGLEY — Some northern Minnesota counties could end up paying millions of dollars to Enbridge Energy if the company is successful in its appeal of Minnesota property taxes it paid from 2012 through 2016. Enbridge claimed the Minnesota Department of Revenue unfairly valued its oil pipeline network and overcharged it in five years of tax collections. Clearwater and Red Lake counties could end up refunding more money than they raise annually in property taxes. Clearwater County auditor Allen Paulson told the Star Tribune that if Enbridge wins its appeal, the county would be forced to pay $7.2 million, more than the county’s levy of $6.8 million. Clearwater County faces the biggest hit because not only is it home to pipelines, but it also hosts an Enbridge tank farm and terminal in the town of Clearbrook. The company’s tax contributions also loom particularly large in Clearwater and Red Lake because the towns are sparsely populated and have small tax bases. Enbridge’s pipelines cross 13 Minnesota counties, transporting crude oil from Alberta, Canada, and North Dakota to a terminal in Superior, Wisconsin.
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