×

Pipeline developer wants state to return documents

BISMARCK (AP) — The company that built the Dakota Access Pipeline is suing for the return of thousands of documents held by North Dakota, saying the disclosure of those records could present a security risk.

Energy Transfer and its subsidiary Dakota Access LLC said in a lawsuit that the state recently provided some 16,000 “confidential, proprietary, and privileged documents” to an unspecified third party under an open records request, the Bismarck Tribune reported.

That information is private and its disclosure “puts the pipeline, Plaintiffs’ employees, and the citizens of North Dakota at risk,” attorney Randall Bakke wrote in the lawsuit.

The lawsuit filed in mid-October names the North Dakota Private Investigative and Security Board and TigerSwan, the North Carolina-based company that handled security for the pipeline during protests over its construction.

In September, the board and TigerSwan settled a two-year-long battle over whether the company operated illegally in North Dakota while the pipeline was under construction in 2016 and 2017.

The lawsuit seeks the return of the documents that TigerSwan provided to the board in that dispute.

Assistant Attorney General Courtney Titus, who represents the board, has asked South Central District Judge Cynthia Feland to dismiss the case.

“All records received by or coming into the custody, control, or possession of public officials are the property of the State and all records of a public entity are public records,” she wrote.