Dakota Access

A trio of excavators moved earth along the Dakota Access Pipeline route east of Williston in July 2016.

Eric Hylden, Forum News Service

Dakota Access LLC officials will meet with state regulators this summer over two complaints lodged against the company for alleged violations of its permit during construction of its 1,172-mile pipeline.

The first complaint filed with the North Dakota Public Service Commission alleges that the company didn’t file proper certification or get permission for rerouting of the Dakota Access Pipeline in October. The  North Dakota Public Service Commission adopted an order Wednesday requiring the company to provide information on that action.

Commission members said last fall the company waited 10 days in October before notifying them of the unanticipated uncovering of cultural artifacts at a construction site. The reroute was in response to the discovery.

The other complaint stems from a third-party inspection conducted months ago in which it’s alleged the company cleared trees and shrubs in violation of its permit at 83 locations along the North Dakota portion of the pipeline route. An investigation has been opened into this complaint, with a day-long hearing to be conducted.

Relating to the trees and shrubs being removed, the commission alleges the company violated its permit by removing a number of trees and shrubs outside of the 85-foot range allowed within its 150-foot right-of-way.

“This is one of the tools the commission has to get more information,” Commissioner Julie Fedorchak said.

Both hearings will be held in the PSC’s hearing room. A decision whether or not to fine the company will be announced at a later date. Fines are determined by the commission; they can be up to $10,000 per day for each violation, with a maximum fine of $200,000 overall per violation.

“I’m pretty eager to wrap this up,” Fedorchak said.

A message left with a company spokesperson for comment on Wednesday’s PSC actions wasn’t immediately returned.

The $3.8 billion project is being brought into service, which will allow for up to 470,000 barrels per day of Bakken crude from North Dakota to Illinois.

The project drew national attention when tribal members and activists across the country converged for months at protest camps near the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s reservation boundary. The pipeline passes under the Missouri River near the tribal boundary in southern Morton County.

(Reach Nick Smith at 701-250-8255 or 701-223-8482 or at nick.smith@bismarcktribune.com.)

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