Public expresses concerns about Davis Refinery in town hall


The Meridian Energy Group was issued it’s air quality draft permit last month for the proposed Davis Refinery to be built in Belfield, but before a ground breaking ceremony can take place, the energy group has to listen to the public first.

A town hall at was hosted by The North Dakota Department of Health, Air Quality Division at Dickinson State University on Wednesday night, and the public had a lot to say.

“Basically the 1 -percent and the corporate elite are telling us, ‘We can do whatever we want. We don’t care about your national parks’,” said Dustin Peyer.

Some people in the crowd felt differently.

“Job creation for one. Put people to work. Get people off of unemployment who are on unemployment. That saves the government money,” said Jon Bechtold.

The town hall had a wide range of supporters and opposition in the crowd, but many of the people who got up to speak had one specific message in mind.

“To place it right next to a national park is kind of ridiculous, ” said Peyer

Brad Magnuson agreed with Peyer that the refinery is just too close to the South Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

The North Dakota Department of Health, Air Quality Division  said the Meridian Energy Group has met all the emission standards for an air quality draft permit to construct a refinery.

“We took an entire look at the facility at 55,000 barrels per day, and the emission from that type of a source, would qualify under a minor source, and meet the air quality regulations,” said Terry O’Clair, Director of the Air Quality Division.

For some people in the crowd, the refinery can’t break ground fast enough

“I’ll live three miles away from this refinery. I’m not afraid to raise my family where the buffalo use to roam,” said Steven Klym.

The department of the health said they will take into consideration all the public input, and it could be awhile before a final permit to construct is issued.

“There is a lot people who are testifying. It’s going to mid-Summer before we can do our final review,” said O’ Clair

The Meridian Energy Group said the Davis Refinery will cost more than $800-million to construct, and it has the potential to create more than 2,000 jobs in the Billing’s County area

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