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Little public input for pipeline

ONEOK supervisor compliance specialist Travis Ashby, right, speaks Monday at Killdeer City Hall during a Public Service Commission hearing for the company’s proposed Bear Creek NGL Pipeline Project in Dunn and McKenzie counties. (Press Photo by Andrew Wernette)

KILLDEER—Hardly any members of the public came to testify before the North Dakota Public Service Commission at a public hearing Monday at Killdeer City Hall regarding a proposed natural gas liquids pipeline that would run approximately 38 miles through Dunn and McKenzie counties.

ONEOK Bakken Pipeline LLC, a subsidiary of Oklahoma-based ONEOK Inc., has applied for a permit for its Bear Creek NGL Pipeline Project, which would have an 8-inch diameter and would connect the ONEOK Bear Creek natural gas processing facility—which is expected to finish construction north of Killdeer in September—to the Bakken NGL pipeline south of Watford City.

The estimated $45 million pipeline would carry a mixture of ethane, propane, butanes, iso-butane mix, pentanes and natural gasoline produced at the plant.

One of the concerns that the commissioners raised was the distance the pipeline would be from residences.

Commission Chairwoman Julie Fedorchak asked ONEOK supervisor regulatory compliance specialist Travis Ashby if there was any setback requirements from pipelines with ONEOK, to which Ashby responded that he did not personally know.

"We try to, as a company, plan to put them as far away as often," he said.

Fedorchak said she thought this seemed like a more important detail relating to a natural gas pipeline than for crude oil.

When Commissioner Randy Christmann noted that the difference between residents living within and immediately beyond the 500-foot waiver area extending from the proposed route created "a very small distinction from a safety perspective," Ashby said everyone within 1,600 feet of the route would receive literature explaining the pipeline and procedures in the case of an accident.

The pipeline would run through an existing pipeline corridor in a section of land owned by the U.S. Forest Service, with whom environmental project manager Todd Kelvington said his company was working to ensure everything proceeds correctly.

The pipeline would also cut through a number of wetlands.

ONEOK Bakken Pipeline has also been using a 250-foot-wide study corridor to examine the proposed route.

Fedorchak advised toward the end of the hearing that all companies involved in the project should treat landowners in a fair and honest manner.

Killdeer resident Leone Linseth, the lone member of the public to testify in order to clear up a minor land inquiry on her grandson's behalf, agreed with Fedorchak and added that many in the community were fed up with energy companies not dealing with them honestly.

"People here are tired of not being treated fairly and being given false information, and (companies) not getting back to them about anything," she said. "It's like they're not included in the loop."

Andrew Wernette

Wernette came to The Dickinson Press from his home state of Michigan in April 2015 as reporter for the newspaper's energy, political, crime, courts and cops beats. Before The Press, Wernette worked at his university's newspaper as a section editor, as well as interned at a local county paper as a reporter. Outside of work, he enjoys reading, writing, cooking, taking a stroll and planning his next world travel adventure.

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