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Supreme Court hears appeal of Davis Refinery's construction permit from DEQ

It was the first of two appeals to the North Dakota Supreme Court concerning the proposed Davis Refinery, to be built near Belfield.

The appeal dealt with the Department of Environmental Quality’s approval of a construction permit for the refinery, based on its decision that Meridian Energy has adequate protections in place for pollution control.

The National Parks Conservation Service argues DEQ’s permit is not adequate. Attorney J. J. England told the Court the organization is not asking that the DEQ be required to redo the entire permit.

"What we're asking for is very limited relief, on a couple of issues," England said. "They have to do with air pollutants, and volatile organic compounds, to insure that, in Meridian's promises made in its application, it is held to those promises."

The DEQ argues the permit does control emissions, through a required leak detection system, involving use of an “optical imaging camera” to detect any leaks of those volatile organic compounds. The company will also be required to use a handheld device to check out how much of those compounds may have leaked.

"This is really the industry gold standard, to have this kind of program," said Assistant Attorney General Margaret Olson.

The High Court has taken the case under advisement.

The second case -- to be heard by the Court next week -- deals with whether the Public Service Commission should have required a siting hearing for the new refinery. The refinery capacity is 49,500 barrels per day -- just under the state threshold of 50,000 bbl per day.

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