BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A company that operated a natural gas pipeline for more than two years without a permit will not be fined by the state Public Service Commission. The pipeline by Hiland Operating LLC of Enid, Okla., was completed in 2010. The company told the commission in May 2012 that it did not have a permit. The Bismarck Tribune reports that a company can be fined up to $10,000 per day for "willfully building an energy conversion facility or transmission line without a permit," with the total fine not to exceed $200,000. Commissioners say they don't think the violation was intentional and fining Hiland might deter other companies from considering investment in North Dakota.
The Commission's statutory responsibilities concerning pipelines in North Dakota include:
Duties of the North Dakota Public Service Commissioners: The Commission is comprised of three Commissioners who are elected on a statewide basis to staggered six-year terms. The Commission was established before North Dakota became a state. Dakota Territory established a Board of Railroad Commissioners in 1885 to oversee railroads, sleeping car companies, express companies, and telephone companies. The State's constitution retained this board and entrusted it with powers and duties to be prescribed by law. In 1940 the Board's name was changed to Public Service Commission. As the preceding list indicates, the Legislature has broadened the Commission's duties since its early days. This trend has been reversed in some areas, however, as technology and a changing regulatory environment at both the federal and state levels have resulted in a greater dependence on competitive market forces to regulate services and rates of what were traditionally monopoly service providers. It is anticipated that some degree of regulatory oversight will remain in most of the Commission's traditional areas of responsibility. The public's needs and legislative policymakers will ultimately decide how much regulation is required in various industries.
Demand corporate accountability from Hiland Operating LLC! Demand that Brian Kalk, Randy Christmann, & Julie Fedorchak do the jobs they were elected to do. It doesn't matter if the violation was intentional or not! Ignorance of the law is no excuse for any of us, why should it be different for a corporation?
Hiland Operating LLC should be obliged to pay the $200,000.00 fine which is a slap on the wrist when compared to the amount of time they were operating, well over 730 days!!!
Send the message to Commissioners Kalk, Christmann, & Fedorchak that this is unacceptable!
Dear Chairman Commissioner Kalk, Commissioner Christmann, & Commissioner Fedorchak,
Hiland Operating LLC was in violation of your state pipeline regulations for more than two years with an illegal pipeline, and yet you are choosing not to fine them at this time. If Corporations are people, then they should be held accountable like all the other people in your state. Not fining them will send the message to other companies that if they violate rules & regulations in North Dakota, the only thing they will have to do is attempt to demonstrate that their actions weren't intentional. Is this the sort of example that you want to set for businesses in North Dakota?
Reverse your decision of the suspension of the fine for the pipeline violation, & impose the maximum penalty. Show the other companies that if they want to do business in North Dakota they must adhere to all rules & regulations if they want to do business in your state.