Davis Refinery | Prairie Public Broadcasting

Davis Refinery

Second Supreme Court hearing on the Davis Refinery

Nov 12, 2019

Groups that oppose the proposed oil refinery to be built in Belfield say the North Dakota Public Service Commission should take a closer look at the proposed size of the refinery, to determine whether or not it meets the state’s siting law criteria.

Meridian Energy is proposing to build a refinery to handle 49,500 barrels of oil per day. That would put it under the requirement that a facility of 50,000 barrels per day or above needs to go through the full siting process. The groups are concerned that the refinery would be built too close to the Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

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.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The Public Service Commission has dismissed a complaint filed against an oil refinery project planned for Belfield.

The complaint was filed by environmental groups and individuals concerned about how close the proposed Davis Refinery would be to the Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

The PSC accepted the ruling of an administrative law judge

Meridian Energy proposes a refinery that would process 49,500 barrels of oil every day. But state law says the PSC does not get involved in siting refineries unless it would process over 50,000 barrels a day.

The company planning to build the new oil refinery at Belfield has hired an engineering and construction firm to complete the “front end engineering and design” study for the refinery.

It’s being done in anticipation of the state Health Department giving the company the permit to construct the refinery.

"We are fairly certain there will be no substantial changes to that permit from the draft that was issued in December," said Meridian CEO William Prentice.

Prentice said he expects the final permits will be issued soon.