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State's decision on Dakota Access Pipeline could come next month

BISMARCK -- A decision on the North Dakota route of the Dakota Access Pipeline could come in January as the Public Service Commission continues to discuss unresolved issues on the Bakken crude oil pipeline.During a work session Monday, commission...

BISMARCK - A decision on the North Dakota route of the Dakota Access Pipeline could come in January as the Public Service Commission continues to discuss unresolved issues on the Bakken crude oil pipeline.
During a work session Monday, commissioners said one of the major issues yet to be resolved is how Dakota Access will work with Enbridge in areas where the two competitors have pipelines that are close together.
The Dakota Access Pipeline would cross Enbridge pipelines seven times, Enbridge testified at a hearing in June.
In addition, the construction timeline for Dakota Access could overlap with the construction of Enbridge’s Sandpiper project, another major Bakken oil pipeline. The two companies have yet to reach an agreement, including how close the two pipelines should be installed and how wide the temporary workspace should be.
Chairwoman Julie Fedorchak said landowners are most concerned about how the two companies will work together to handle reclamation.
Commissioner Brian Kalk said the commissioners may need to make the decision for the companies.
“They are not going to work this out, is my opinion,” Kalk said. “I just think this is a stalemate right now.”
Commissioner Randy Christmann said perhaps the commission indicating they’ll make a decision will prompt the two companies to continue negotiating.
Kalk said he’s ready to vote on Dakota Access now, while Fedorchak said she wants more information about some of the outstanding issues.
The project is not expected to get a vote this year, but Fedorchak said January is a good goal.
Dakota Access also met with the North Dakota State Historic Preservation Office on Monday about how the company plans to mitigate impacts to cultural resources.
Dakota Access has obtained voluntary easements for about 85 percent of the route in North Dakota.
The company continues to negotiate with other landowners, but has filed condemnation lawsuits against several landowners in North Dakota.
The Dakota Access Pipeline would travel about 1,130 miles from near Stanley to Patoka, Ill., initially transporting 450,000 barrels per day.
The project was approved last week in South Dakota, but still needs regulatory approval in Illinois and Iowa as well as North Dakota.

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