Protesters pepper-sprayed

Pipeline co. could face fines

CANNON BALL, N.D. — Officers in riot gear clashed again Wednesday with protesters near the Dakota Access pipeline, hitting dozens with pepper spray as they waded through waist-deep water in an attempt to reach property owned by the pipeline’s developer.

The confrontation came hours after North Dakota regulators criticized the pipeline company for not immediately reporting the discovery of American Indian artifacts and a day after President Barack Obama raised the possibility of future reroutes to alleviate tribal concerns.

Public Service Commission Chairwoman Julie Fedorchak said she was “extremely disappointed” that Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners waited 10 days before reporting last month’s discovery of stone cairns and other artifacts.

The panel could decide to levy fines of up to $200,000, Fedorchak said, though she said such a high amount would be unlikely.