PSC postpones hearing on DAPL

Aug 15, 2017

Public Service Commissioners Brian Kroshus (l), Randy Christmann and Julie Fedorchak.
Credit Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

On a 2 to 1 vote, the Public Service Commission has agreed to postpone Thursday’s hearing with the owners of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

A construction consultant says Energy Transfer Partners cleared more trees and brush than allowed in the pipeline’s siting permit. The Thursday hearing was billed as an “investigative” hearing, to look further into the matter and see if a complaint needed to be issued.

The company sent a letter to the Commission, saying it would be willing to work on a resolution of the case before it would get to a formal hearings. And the PSC agreed.

Commission chairman Randy Christmann made the motion to postpone. Christmann said he did so because of a settlement offer the Commission has made to the company in another case, where a section of pipeline was re-routed to avoid unexpected cultural resources. That was also one without PSC approval, as was required by the siting permit. Energy Transfer Partners has until August 24th to accept that agreement.

"As I said, I expect them (Energy Transfer Partners) to be taking our offer as a seriours offer, and I expect them to take it seriously," Christmann said. "We need to move forward and take DAPL's effort to move forward with a setttlement of the investigative procedures seriously as well."

Commissioner Julie Fedorchak voted against the motion to delay the hearing.

"In this case, I think we should stand firm, and let the process we have laid out proceed as planned," Fedorchak said. "We haven't made any conclusions about any of these issues. We're just gathering information.'

The PSC will likely set another hearing date at its bi-weekly meeting Wednesday.