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

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.


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.

Core library expansion completed, under budget

Aug 8, 2017

The expansion of a special library on the UND campus is now complete.

And it came in under budget.

The library in question is the Wilson M.Laird Core and Sample Library. It’s used by scientists, and by the oil industry.

"When a company drills a well, it is required to the cuttings, the samples as the drill bit grinds through the rocks, which are collected at the surface," said state Geologist Ed Murphy. "And then any core that they take, they are required to give us a representative copy."

Coal Plants Adapt To Follow Demand

Aug 2, 2017
Amy Sisk / Inside Energy

Facing competition from renewables and cheap natural gas, coal-fired power plants are learning they must adjust to survive.

For decades, many coal plants burned coal as fast as their facilities could handle.

"The best way they operate is you turn them on, you run them up as high as you can, and you let them run for days," said Dale Niezwaag, vice president of government relations for Basin Electric Power Cooperative.


Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Some members of the North Dakota Public Service Commission think the state’s energy siting laws may need to be reviewed – after a natural gas processing plant was allowed to undergo a huge expansion.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

A natural gas plant in McKenzie County will be undergoing a $150 million expansion.

The Public Service Commission has okayed Oasis Midstream’s expansion of its Wild Basin Plant. The plant will go from processing 80 million cubic feet of natural gas per day to processing 280 million cubic feet per day.

The original plant came on line in 2016. Because of that, PSC chairman Randy Christmann said the application raised some questions.