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Politics & Government

PSC chair 'disappointed' proposed rail safety program was removed from the proposed budget

Dave Thompson
Prairie Public

The chairman of the North Dakota Public Service Commission says she’s disappointed that legislators so far have cut the proposed rail safety program from the PSC budget request.

But Julie Fedorchak says she’s not giving up the fight.

"I think that the program, as we presented it, is a modest investment and a good place to start," said Fedorchak. "It has the potential to make a real difference in the safety and efficiency of the rail system."

The PSC had also asked for 3 positions in rail safety, 3 positions in pipeline safety, one position in weights and measures, a natural gas inspector and a public utilities analyst. Commissioner Brian Kalk says the House Appropriations Committee approved one position – in public utilities.

"There's a lot of pressure out there to do things correctly," said Kalk. "And you need people to do it."

Commissioner Randy Christmann is a former legislator. He says it’s still early for any final decisions on budget matters – so the PSC will try to get these things reinstated in conference committee.

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