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UPDATE: ND Public Service Commission Approves Sandpiper Pipeline - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

UPDATE: ND Public Service Commission Approves Sandpiper Pipeline Project

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The North Dakota Public Service Commission met Wednesday for its regular commission meeting and they approved the 610-mile Sandpiper Pipeline Project that is being built by Enbridge. The pipeline will run through North Dakota and Minnesota to Superior, Wisconsin carrying 375,000 barrels per day.

North Dakota Public Service Commissioner Brian Kalk says the pipeline is approved and they can begin above ground construction. Enbridge does still have to get approval from some state historic and preservation society. Kalk says it took 8 months to get application approved and that the public service commission held 3 hearing across that sate to hear input from the public.

The pipeline is projected to create over 1000 jobs, take 4000 trucks carrying oil off the roads, at least 4 oil trains off the tracks and will be a taxable asset for the counties.

Kalk says that pipeline is different because the company Enbridge has an existing smaller pipeline in the same region.

"This is the single largest pipeline in development right now for North Dakota. And so again this is going to add that additional pipeline capacity that we need going forward. As we continue to rise our production levels we need that adequate means of transportation to move that crude to markets around the U.S.," North Dakota Pipeline Authority Director Justin Kringstad said when the pipeline was proposed.

For residents living near the pipeline route, they see it as increased safety. Culley Gause will see all the pipeline construction from his home window-- the line will run under a field across the street from his own front yard. Gause works as a volunteer firefighter at the nearby Thompson, ND Fire Department. He says moving product through the pipeline rather than above-ground rail cars will ease their minds.

"It's a well-developed department, but to handle a situation like a derailment with tank cars, we would definitely need more support," he says.

Safety is also on the minds of Grand Forks County officials.

"It's the safest way to do it probably with all this modern-day technology," says Commissioner Gary Malm.

Though people like Malm are also thinking about the economic impact during the building process.

"Well there's going to be people who come here and they're going to need the materials shipped in here. That's for truckers," he says.

In addition to things like retail sales, food and lodging during the construction process, Malm says he looks forward to the long-term impacts in the state.

"The fact that we have a system to do something here improves for the other people in the other ends where the production is," he says.

The pipeline is projected to go in service in 2016 and will cost $1.3 billion. 

Stay with Valley News Live for updates and reaction to this developing story.

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