N.D. PSC unanimously approves agreement with Dakota Access LLC

BISMARCK, N.D. - The North Dakota Public Service Commission has been in a dispute with Dakota Access LLC since November of 2016 regarding issues during construction of the project.

Ten minutes before the PSC's monthly meeting Wednesday morning a settlement agreement was reached.

The Public Service Commission unanimously approved a settlement agreement with Dakota Access LLC ending controversy that was nearly a year in the making.

One of the main complaints was transparency when cultural artifacts were found during construction.

The company has agreed to create a manual with the state's historic preservations office for managing unanticipated discoveries and route changes.

"This provides meaningful resolutions to these issues and it does so with certainty and it closes the cases," said Public Service Commissioner Julie Fedorchak.

Dakota Access has also agreed to provide, pay and plant 20,000 trees along the pipeline's route in response to the PSC saying too many were improperly removed.

Public Service Commissioner Randy Christmann said, "I like the fact that in those areas that the third party inspectors have concerns that we are actually going to a 3:1 ratio instead of 2:1."

The PSC says these actions hold the company accountable in fulfilling obligations to the citizens.

Public Service Commissioner Brian Kroshus said, "This really is not as much as the monetary amount as it is about awareness and influeney in future behavior."

Kroshus says the settlement will cost the company more than $100,000. It'll be a breach of contract if Dakota Access fails to comply by Dec. 31 of 2018 .

The PSC originally requested a contribution of $15,000 from the company.