A large issue for those protecting the Dakota Access Pipeline has been whether or not sacred artifacts are along the pipeline route.
And a few weeks ago American Indian artifacts were found by DAPL constructions workers.
Now, they’re being criticizing for not contacting the PSC after that discovery.
Ben Smith has the story.
Pipeline construction workers discovered the artifacts on October 17th.
Days later, a third party inspector also found the site and reported back to the Public Service Commission.
“And that’s when we reached out immediately to the company and asked them to explain why the didn’t contact us. Who provided any authority to proceed,” says Julie Fedorchak, ND Public Service Commission
The artifacts found were pieces of chip stone, perhaps used as tools in year’s past.
Also, piles of stone known as Cairns. Often used as landmarks, and occasionally to mark burial sites.
“In the case of Cairns in the topographic position that these were located, probably do not mark that,” says Paul Picha, Archeologist, State Historical Society
Rules are the company must mark the artifacts, then contact state archeologists, as well as the Public Service Commission.
Fedorchak says the company never notified the commission before they rerouted construction around the site.
“We expect our companies that we are regulating to be open and transparent, full disclosure about what’s going on. That’s an important component of this requirement as well, and that’s where the company faltered,” says Fedorchak
The Commission will file a complaint and a potential fine against the company.
The fine could be up to 10,000 dollars for every day they didn’t notify the Public Service Commission.
Fedorchak says the most important thing in this situation was that the artifacts were not disturbed.