North Dakota, Dakota Access developer settle land dispute
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The state of North Dakota and the developer of the Dakota Access oil pipeline have settled a lawsuit over the company’s ownership of ranchland.
North Dakota law bans corporations from the farming industry. But Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners bought ranchland in September 2016 to protect construction workers from protesters. Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem (STEHN’-juhm) eventually sued .
The settlement awaiting a state judge’s approval involves a business structure that technically keeps the land tied to ETP. But Stenehjem says the setup is “proper and legal” and he isn’t opposing ETP’s request to dismiss the case.
The deal ends the prospect of the state levying thousands of dollars in fines against the developer. ETP didn’t respond to a request for comment on how the land will be used.