PSC proposes settlement in DAPL re-route case; company asks for delay in Thurs. hearing

Aug 14, 2017

Public Service Commissioner Julie Fedorchak.
Credit 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.

In its settlement, the Commission proposes that the company make a $15,000 donation to the State Historic Preservation Office, and that no fault be found.

Commissioner Julie Fedorchak said the offer is an attempt to bring resolution to a process that she said has dragged on for months.

"The settlement does not concede anything," Fedorchak said. "It represents a compromise to resolve the issue. If agreed to, it can represent a win for both parties."

"I think the settlement we are offering is fair," said Commissioner Brian Kroshus. "It's time to move on."

Energy Transfer Partners has until August 24th to accept the settlement offer. If it doesn’t, the case will continue.

Meanwhile, the company is asking that the PSC delay a Thursday hearing into allegations if removed more trees and brush along the pipeline route that it was supposed to.

The PSC describes that Thursday hearing as “investigative” in nature.

PSC attorney Zach Pelham told the Commissioners Energy Transfer Partners sent a letter, saying it was likely that some of the issues could be narrowed or resolved. Commissioner Julie Fedorchak said previous responses they’ve received from the company have been “dismissive.”

"I know that the staff has for months been having give-and-take with the company on these issues," Fedorchak said. "Why weren't they resolved then?"

"Those (comments) are, a lot of times, different than they are when you're right up against the wall of the hearing or some type of proceeding," Pelham replied. "Reality starts to set in."

Fedorchak said she wants some time to look at a delay – and the Commission may hold a special meeting to take up the company’s proposal.