Energy

Lightning And Oil Country: A Volatile Mix

Aug 28, 2017
Amy Sisk / Inside Energy

Dozens of times during the summer as the rain picks up here on the prairie, suddenly, there’s a flash.

“You can be sitting there watching it, enjoying the night and all the sudden, boom!” said Kyle Chernenko, a resident of Grassy Butte.

Chernenko has watched these prairie thunderstorms his whole life from his home in North Dakota’s Bakken oil patch. He’s the volunteer fire chief in this small town.

Amy Sisk / Inside Energy

The company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline has filed a federal lawsuit against Greenpeace and other groups it claims conspired against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Energy Transfer Partners says these groups spread false information about the company and pipeline project to raise donations. The pipeline developer claims they planted and funded "eco-terrorists."

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The Public Service Commission has set a new date for an “investigative hearing” on what could be a violation of the siting approval issued to the Dakota Access Pipeline.

A third party construction inspector says the pipeline’s builders removed more trees and shrubs than they should have, under the terms of the siting permit. A hearing was to be held Thursday. But the company asked for some time to work out a settlement with PSC staffers –and the Commission earlier voted 2-1 to grant an extension.

PSC postpones hearing on DAPL

Aug 15, 2017
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.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The Public Service Commission has made a settlement offer to the owners of the Dakota Access Pipeline in a case where the company didn’t tell the Commission is was re-routing the pipeline until after that re-route was done.

Energy Transfer Partners made an unanticipated cultural resource discovery. Under the siting permit, the PSC was to have been told about such finds, and the PSC would vote on the re-route. That wasn’t done. And the PSC issued an “order to show cause” to the company.

Dakota Access Pipeline Upends Oil Transport

Aug 14, 2017
Amy Sisk / Inside Energy

After months of protest, legal wrangling and stalled construction, the Dakota Access Pipeline is up and running -- and transforming how oil leaves North Dakota.

The pipeline became operational June 1, offering North Dakota for the first time more than enough room to carry its oil to market on pipelines.

New data released by the state show the line’s impact: Pipelines now transport more than three-quarters of North Dakota’s oil.

PSC holding DAPL hearing Thursday

Aug 14, 2017
PSC

On Thursday, the North Dakota Public Service Commission is holding a hearing on issues raised by a third-party construction company – hired to monitor the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

The third-party company is concerned that Energy Transfer Partners – the builder of the Dakota Access Pipeline – cleared too many trees in up to 80 different locations along the right-of-way.

Commissioner Julie Fedorchak said the Commission typically allows 50 feet of right of way to be cleared along a pipeline route.

Amy Sisk / Prairie Public

State officials have noticed a worrisome trend the past few months in the oil fields on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation: The amount of natural gas that’s flared at oil well sites is rising.

Up until this spring, flaring on the reservation was in line with the rest of North Dakota’s oil patch.

“But beginning in March or April we started to see them fall seriously behind,” said Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms at his monthly press briefing on oil and gas production.

Battle Brews Over Methane Leaks

Aug 10, 2017
Tim Evanson / Flickr

The head of the Environmental Protection Agency visited North Dakota this week on a 25-state listening tour, amid an effort by the Trump administration to roll back a host of environmental regulations.

The latest battle is over leaks of methane and other invisible gases, which sometimes escape from the equipment that’s supposed to contain them at oil and gas well sites.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is working to halt Obama-era rules requiring stricter controls at those well sites.

PSC

The Public Service Commission will hold a hearing next week concerning alleged siting permit violations by the builders of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

The hearing will deal with the company clearing more trees and shrubs than authorized.

A second violation concerns a re-route of the pipeline to avoid “culturally significant” areas. The company did the reroute without notifying the PSC. And the Commission has filed a formal complaint about it.

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