Negotiations continue between legal staff at the North Dakota Public Service Commission and the owners of the Dakota Access pipeline over what could be violations of the pipeline’s siting permit.
There are two areas of concern. One is the company’s rerouting of a portion of the pipeline to avoid culturally sensitive areas. The other is the company clearing more trees and brush along the pipeline route than it was authorized to do. Both were done without PSC approval.
A hearing had been scheduled on the re-route – but was postponed to allow the negotiations to take place.
"Based on visiting with legal counsel, I'm encouraged by what I believe as decent progress," said PSC member Brian Kroshus.
Kroshus says this is about affecting future behavior.
"When more pipelines are constructed in our state, the rules and regulations that we want companies to follow and adhere to are indeed followed," Kroshus said. "Everyone is watching this."
Commissioner Julie Fedorchak said Energy Transfer Partners is headquartered in Houston, so the company has been dealing with the effects of Hurricane Harvey, and that has slowed things down a bit.
A hearing is still scheduled in October. But Fedorchak said that can be postponed – if progress is being made.