Fedorchak joining national conversation on infrastructure and the 'new normal'

Mar 30, 2017

Public Service Commissioners Brian Kroshus (l), Randy Christmann and Julie Fedorchak.
Credit Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

A North Dakota Public Service Commissioner is joining a national conversation about infrastructure development in the wake of the controversies and protests of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Julie Fedorchak said she was approached at a recent meeting in Louisiana to participate in this effort. Fedorchak said the protests will likely be a “new normal” when it comes to infrastructure development.

Fedorchak said the protestors used tools and tactics that haven’t been used before – such as social media.  She said looking back on the permitting process, the PSC did many things right.

"We had open meetings and publicized them widely," Fedorchak said. "We made them easily accessible. We listened. "

But Fedorchak said she sees the need for improvements on the communications side of things. She said that includes state agencies and the pipeline company.

"We didn't work hard enough to get good information and make it easily accessible," Fedorchak said. "That has to change."

Fedorchak said that includes a use of social media to counterract some of the misinformation that spreads.

"I'm not saying we need to advertise or be advocates," Fedorchak said. "But the simple facts were missing and hard to find."