Security company, state argue venue in Dakota Access dispute

Attorneys for North Dakota regulators and a North Carolina-based private security firm argued in court Thursday over the proper venue to resolve a dispute over whether TigerSwan acted illegally during protests against the Dakota Access oil pipeline and should be fined.

North Dakota’s Private Investigative and Security Board wants the matter left in civil court, where it began a year ago when the board sued. The company maintains any decision on fines should be handled administratively.

Texas-based pipeline developer Energy Transfer Partners hired TigerSwan to handle security as pipe was laid in North Dakota in 2016 and 2017.

The dispute between TigerSwan and the state centers around whether the company provided investigative or security services within North Dakota without a license, or consulting services that are outside of the board’s jurisdiction.