PSC will study regulating in-state oil pipelines

Oct 24, 2013

The Public Service Commission will be looking at whether it should assume more authority over in-state crude oil pipelines.

The PSC has siting authority – but once the pipe is in the ground, federal regulations take over. It’s different for the intra-state natural gas pipelines, where the PSC employs pipeline inspectors.

Commissioner Julie Fedorchak says it’s not easy to explain to the public.

"You end up sounding like someone's passing the buck," said Fedorchak. "That's not the intention. But there are jurisdictional boundaries, and sometimes you don't have the authority to do something."

Commissioner Randy Christmann says the issue deserves more study.

"There may be a lot of value in us having control over the system," said Christmann. "That's to make sure we can give the level of confidence to the people of North Dakota that they have in us to be the regulators."

Commissioners say it will likely take changes in state law – as well as some new people who have the right training in oil pipelines.