The North Dakota Public Service Commission will be holding a formal public hearing on Wednesday in the Emmons County Courthouse Auditorium in Linton in regard to a siting application by Dakota Access, LLC for a Dakota Access Pipeline pump station. The proposed pump station will consist of five 6,000 horsepower electrically driven motors and pumps, which will allow for pipeline transportation of up to 1,100,000 total barrels of crude oil per day.
Throughout the past weeks, AM 1100 The Flag has had a chance to visit with key officials regarding the upcoming hearing. Here’s a brief overview of the conversations What’s On Your Mind host Scott Hennen has had with the officials:
- North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum: Governor Doug Burgum talks about how he came to understand the concerns regarding the original pipeline protests, which began before he became Governor. He says the project is ‘critical’ for everyone. Burgum also talks about his thoughts on energy security and what it looks like in this era. Burgum says he wanted the technology to prevent leaks from pipelines, not detect leaks from pipelines, which is being done through work with iPipe, through a partnership with the EERC at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks. “The safest way to move it (oil) is by pipeline,” Burgum says.
- North Dakota PSC Chairman Brian Kroshus: Scott visited with North Dakota Public Service Commission Chairman Brian Kroshus and hosted a question and answer session with the Chairman in regard to the November 13 PSC hearing on the expansion. Kroshus describes the physical area of where the project expansion is proposed to be, along with the parameters of the DAPL 2.0 project. Scott asks Commission Chairman Kroshus what he expects, to which Kroshus says he hopes the groups coming in are there to be a constructive part of the process. He says, if it isn’t the case, it detracts from parts of the process. He says it could cause the process to take longer, or hinder people’s ability to speak at the hearing.
- North Dakota Pipeline Authority Executive Director Justin Kringstad: Justin tells Scott that North Dakota is at record production, and that this expansion greatly impacts the future of oil transportation in the state. In the past two years, Kringstad says the pipeline has helped North Dakota produce over a billion barrels of crude oil.
- Emmons County Sheriff Gary Sanders: Emmons County Sheriff Gary Sanders joins Scott to talk about how the Sheriff’s Department is preparing for the upcoming hearing. He says his department is preparing for a large amount of people coming into the county into a facility that holds about 400 people. Sanders says he has sought help from other local and state agencies. He says he expects, and is preparing, for protesters to be on site. He also lays out the guidelines for the security of the facility the day of the hearing.
- North Dakota PSC member Julie Fedorchak: Julie Fedorchak is a Public Service Commissioner and she wants people to know that this is their time to come and talk to the Commission about the expansion. “It is a chance for people to have concerns to come and lay them out,” Fedorchak says. The hearing is intending to look at the permitting of the pipeline expansion project, not whether people like oil, etc., or not. The process is mostly environmental, Fedorchak tells WZFG Radio’s Scott Hennen. There is no new pipeline for this project, just adding pumps to the existing pipeline. Both sides will be able to call witnesses in the hearing.
- North Dakota Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger: North Dakota’s Tax Commissioner, Ryan Rauschenberger, talks to Scott Hennen about the upcoming PSC hearing in Linton. Rauschenberger says about $250 billion in oil tax revenue has come to the state of North Dakota. He says for every dollar, an extra $85 billion dollars in oil tax comes to North Dakota. He says $90 million in property taxes is paid by the pipelines.
- St. Anthony, North Dakota rancher Doug Hille: St. Anthony, North Dakota’s Doug Hille is a rancher who leases property on which the Dakota Access Pipeline runs through. He is one of the first that told Scott what it was like to live through the Dakota Access Pipeline when it first came through North Dakota. He explains how there were ‘several uninvited guests’ in his neighborhood. Doug was living in an area that had police blockades due to the protesters. “There were a lot of people who couldn’t speak out,” Hille told Scott in an interview recently. He says the frustrating part was the purpose the protesters and how they were living were two opposite things. He says now most things have been worked out since the pipeline first came to his area.
- North Dakota Petroleum Council President Ron Ness: North Dakota Petroleum Council President Ron Ness also talked about the hearing in Linton on November 13 in relation to the Dakota Access Pipeline. Ron talks about the impact an expansion could have and what it would mean for North Dakota. Doubling the amount of production from North Dakota’s oil fields could result from this expansion project, getting North Dakota a better price on its oil. Ness calls it a “superhighway” on oil, giving a direct access to areas like Louisiana and the Gulf Coast. He says, to continue drilling and exploring, $20 million dollars a day in capital is needed to get through the gas capture challenges.
The North Dakota Public Service Commission’s hearing will be open to the public, and will begin at 9 a.m. Central time on Wednesday, November 13 at the Emmons County Courthouse Auditorium in Linton.
WZFG Radio's Scott Hennen will be live on What's On Your Mind from the hearing in Linton on Wednesday. The show begins at 8:30 a.m. Central time.