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Janell Cole, Published October 05 2007

Walaker to PSC: Say 'no' to Keystone pipeline

BISMARCK — Fargo Mayor Dennis Walaker has asked the Public Service Commission to deny a construction permit for the TransCanada Keystone Pipeline through eastern North Dakota.

The PSC has been preparing to make a decision on whether to grant a siting permit in the coming weeks.

“Our initial concern results from the fact that the City of Fargo has rights to water behind the Baldhill Dam (on the Sheyenne River),” Walaker wrote in a letter dated Thursday.

The pipeline would carry Canadian crude oil through the state on its way from Alberta to Illinois refineries, a 218-mile stretch from near Walhalla to near Oakes. It runs close to and parallel with the Sheyenne River in Griggs and Barnes County and crosses the Sheyenne near Fort Ransom in Ransom County. It would be built next year if approved.

Public Service Commissioner Tony Clark said today that the Fargo letter could put a wrinkle in the timeline the commission has been following in preparation for a decision.

Though the public hearing process was over a month ago, “I’m looking into it to see if we can suspend the timetable,” Clark said. “You’re dealing with the government of the largest city in the state.”

Walaker also apparently wants the Keystone project held up to use as a bargaining chip with Manitoba, which has been protesting North Dakota water projects.

Read more in The Forum on Saturday. Walaker to PSC: Say 'no' to Keystone pipeline Janell Cole 20071005