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PSC discussing fine for a natural gas pipeline company for building a pipeline without a corridor permit

Public Service Commission hearing on 'Electrification of Transportation'
Dave Thompson
Public Service Commission

North Dakota’s Public Service Commission is mulling what to do in the case of a short natural gas pipeline in McKenzie County, that was built without the proper siting permits.

It’s a short pipeline – just over two and a half miles long. But the company – Caliber North Dakota LLC – failed to get the siting permits. The company realized – after the pipeline was built – that it needed to get those permits, and brought it to the PSC’s attention.

In a proposed settlement agreement, PSC staff recommended a $5000 fine. Commissioner Randy Christmann said $5000 was fair.

"They brought it to our attention," Christmann said. "They made a mistake — no doubt about it. And it's a serious mistake. But I'm not sure we would have ever realized the company was doing business, because it's such a short pipeline."

Christmann also said the company has been cooperative.

But the other two commissioners believed the fine wasn't sufficient.

"They were doing the work, but they realized they did not get this sited," said Commissioner Sheri Haugen-Hoffart. "Then when we questioned it, I felt everyone kinda took the Fifth, and didn't acknowledge anything."

Haugen-Hoffart said the company had staff on hand that should have known about siting laws.

PSC staff will be working on a new settlement agreement.

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