A state legislator is asking the Public Service Commission to subpoena state officials from various departments to give testimony regarding a proposed new electricity transmission line in western North Dakota.
State Senator Connie Triplett says she is opposed to Basin Electric's
request to speed up the permit process for the new, nearly-200-mile power line to run through the Badlands from the Antelope Valley Power Plant near Beulah to near Tioga.
The last of three public hearings on the proposed Waiver of Procedures and Timelines for the project was held today in Williston.
Basin officials answered questions from Public Service Commissioners about all aspects of the line, including how its route was altered to steer clear of a study area near the Killdeer Mountain Battlefield - a site considered sacred by local Indian tribes.
Triplett is alarmed at what she says is the appearance that state agencies are stepping aside to allow oil-related development in North Dakota.
(Sen. Connie Triplett, (D) Grand Forks) "Many of our state agencies have really been closed out of the process related to oil development. Basically it appears from the outside that they've simply been told not to engage or to engage at a very low level that is wholly supportive of oil development. The reason I'm here today is I'm very concerned about the pace of this process where they've asked for waivers and trying to put what should be several separate and discreet processes into one without allowing themselves time for the adequate gathering of information."
The PSC will not take any action on Basin Electric's request for the almost-200-mile transmission line for several weeks.
And the line would still need federal approval as well.
Basin hopes to begin construction on the line next year to help meet the growing demand for electricity in the Bakken oil region.