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Dakota Access developer fights artefacts complaint

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World Pipelines,

A dispute over whether the developer of the Dakota Access oil pipeline improperly reported the discovery of American Indian artefacts in North Dakota will continue into autumn, as the company continues to fight the potential fine.

Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) has been battling since November, when state regulators filed a complaint and proposed a US$15 000 fine.

The complaint came after the Public Service Commission (PSC) which oversees pipelines, was notified by a third-party inspector that pipeline crews last October had diverted construction of the pipeline around Native American artefacts. The company had obtained the approval of the State Historic Preservation Office but not of the commission.

The artefacts weren't disturbed and ETP maintains it didn't intentionally do anything wrong. A public hearing on the issue was scheduled for 16 August, but the company requested that written arguments be made first. The PSC has agreed to a briefing schedule with a final deadline of 22 September. The hearing will be rescheduled after that, Commissioner Julie Fedorchak said.

The Dakota Access pipeline began moving North Dakota oil to a distribution point in Illinois on 1 June, after approval by the Trump administration ended months of delays caused in part by protests in North Dakota that resulted in 761 arrests between August and February.

The commission also is looking into whether the company removed too many trees while laying pipe in the state.

The company could face fines of up to US$200 000 if found to have violated state rules in either case, though it could contest any fines in state district court.

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