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BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A North Dakota oil refinery proposed near Theodore Roosevelt National Park is under review for an air permit while its water permit is being reconsidered.

Meridian Energy Group wants to build the Davis Refinery near Belfield, which is about three miles from the park. The company plans for the refinery to process about 27,500 barrels of oil daily, with the possibility of expansion.

Meridian Energy has said it’ll be the “cleanest refinery on the planet,” but some are concerned of its proximity to the park.

The Office of the State Engineer recommended conditional approval of Meridian Energy’s state permit to withdraw underground water for the refinery. Staff recommended less water than the refinery developer requested in its application.

But neighboring landowners are challenging the recommendation, the Bismarck Tribune reported .

Timothy Dawson, director of the North Dakota Office of Administrative Hearings, said a hearing has been scheduled for June 26 to review the water permit recommendation.

“It’s a very unique statutory procedural hearing,” he said.

In a March 12 order, Dawson said the proceeding will either affirm the recommended decision or reverse it, requiring the state engineer to make a redetermination.

Meanwhile, the state Health Department is continuing to review Meridian Energy’s application for an air quality permit.

Craig Thorstenson with the department’s Division of Air Quality said it’ll likely take another month before the agency completes its review.

The air quality permit is needed before construction can begin, though the water permit won’t affect the construction timeline.

According to the Office of the State Engineer, the water permit isn’t required before construction begins.

“Construction on a facility can begin, but no water may be put to the beneficial use listed on the water permit application until they have received the conditional water permit,” said Jon Patch, director of the Water Appropriation Division.


Information from: Bismarck Tribune,