The process to bring natural gas service to Traill County is moving forward to permits.
Greg Palmer, president of Dakota Natural Gas, told the Tribune, “There are verbal agreements with a number of large customers for us to file permit applications with the state. We’ll be going back to have those customers sign written agreements. We’re moving forward, but we’ve got a lot of work to do yet.”
With permits to obtain from the North Dakota Public Service Commission, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and the Department of Natural Resources among others, “It’s quite a process,” Palmer says. “Each agency has to review everything.”
Palmer says the process took about nine months in Drayton, where Dakota Natural Gas has a $3.7 million project underway to bring service to about 200 customers. That project was driven by American Crystal Sugar, which also has a plant north of Hillsboro.
Once all necessary permits are approved, the plan is for Dakota Natural Gas to hook into the Viking Pipeline and cross the Red River at Nielsville, down Highway 200 south to Hillsboro and west to Mayville. The target date is September 2021 for gas to be supplied to those cities, with Portland and Buxton possibly added in the year after.
Palmer confirmed the go-ahead the morning of Feb. 20 with Jim Murphy, executive director of the Traill County Economic Development Commission. Feeling giddy, Murphy would not give his monthly executive director’s report to the board until each of the nine directors had taken a TUMS antacid from a plastic bottle.
“You’re going to need them because Traill County is going to get gas,” Murphy announced with a smile. “This helps level the playing field with our neighbors to the north and south.”
Dr. Brian Van Horn, TCEDC director representing Mayville State University, congratulated Murphy for his negotiations with Dakota Natural Gas, “I think this is a huge win for our county.”
Murphy applied some “quick- and-dirty math” to conclude, “If each household connects, that’s a $500,000 savings just for residents.”
DNG says heating costs in Drayton could be reduced 20-to-40 percent.
Thanks to the Traill County Tribune for the use of this article which is from the February 29, 2020 issue by James R. Johnson.