PSC discusses proposed Davis Refinery

There's controversy surrounding the proposed Davis Refinery set to be built near Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

Meridian Energy Group, the company behind the project, obtained a rezoning and conditional use permit from Billings County commissioners in July 2016.

A Siting Certificate is not needed by the North Dakota Public Service Commission. The refinery plans to process less than 50,000 barrels per day, but the PSC still wanted information about the project.

It was a packed house on the 12th floor of the state capitol as the Public Service Commission sat down with representatives from Meridian Energy Group to discuss the Davis Refinery in Billings County.

The Public Service Commission is urging Meridian Energy Group to apply for a Siting Certificate, but the company isn't required to since it plans on processing 27,500 barrels of oil per day with a maximum of 49,500.

"These facilities impact the citizens and so we want to have a thoughtful process for where they are located and how they are constructed and operated," said Public Service Commissioner Julie Fedorchak.

The Davis Refinery is set to be located three and half miles from Theodore Roosevelt National Park. The proximity to Interstate 94, Highway 85, railroads and gathering pipelines was a selling point for the location. Meridian Energy Group is confident this project won't have any environmental impact.

"This is the first project in the country, in the world, where every piece of applicable technology is going to be applied comprehensively throughout the project," said Meridian Energy Group CEO William Prentice.

Residents near the proposed refinery have mixed opinions.

"We do not have the population, we have the city of Medora, we do not have nothing to regenerate those revenues coming back," said landowner Greg Kessel.

"It's right on the edge of one county and what are the impacts going to be for the county next to it and are those residents going to be, will they end up with a lot of hidden costs we don't know about," said Stark County resident Linda Weiss.

The last step is to obtain an air quality permit from the North Dakota Health Department.

If given the green light, the company plans to be operational by the first quarter of 2019.

The state health department is accepting public comments until Jan. 26. A hearing will be held at Dickinson State University on Jan. 17.