North Dakota Supreme Court: DAPL documents are public

May 2, 2022

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The North Dakota Supreme Court has ruled that thousands of documents related to security during the construction of the heavily protested Dakota Access Pipeline are public and subject to the state’s open records law.

The Bismarck Tribune reports the decision ends a long dispute over whether the 16,000 documents are public, one that has dragged on more than a year and involved multiple entangled lawsuits.

But the court in its ruling Thursday gave pipeline developer Energy Transfer an opportunity to make a case with state regulators that some of the records are privileged company documents that should remain private. It’s not clear how long that process will take.

The documents being held by the North Dakota Private Investigation and Security Board relate to Energy Transfer, the Texas-based company that built the pipeline, and TigerSwan, the North Carolina company that Energy Transfer hired to oversee security during construction.

TigerSwan gave about 16,000 documents to the board during a two-year battle over whether the company operated illegally in the state in 2016 and 2017, when thousands of pipeline protesters gathered in southern North Dakota and law enforcement made hundreds of arrests.