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PSC considering more staff

By Dave Thompson

Bismarck, ND – The North Dakota Public Service Commission may ask the next Legislature for more staff.

Commissioner Kevin Cramer says with the recent spike in energy development, now might be a good time to ask for more help.

"This is an agency that has 20 fewer staff people than it had 25 years ago," said Cramer. "Now that the 70s and 80s are back -- in terms of energy development -- it's probably time to look at that."

"We've had constant recommendations from the federal government to increase the hours we're devoting to gas pipeline safety," said PSC President Susan Wefald. "With all of the expansion of pipelines in the state, we think that area is very important."

Cramer says the Commission has been able to hire outside help, paid for by siting and permitting fees paid by the energy companies. But he says the workload is growing.