The Prairie Blog: Conservation Groups to Refinery: “Cease and Desist!”

September 4, 2018

Conservation Groups to Refinery: “Cease and Desist!” 
By Jim Fuglie

Lest we let the threat of an oil refinery beside Theodore Roosevelt National Park slip from our minds as we go about our busy fall lives, here’s an update on where things stand right now.

Meridian Energy has started dirt work at the site beside I-94 on the road into the park, flouting the attempt by conservation groups to require a site compatibility review by the North Dakota Public Service Commission.

So last Friday, the Environmental Law and Policy Center (ELPC) and the Dakota Resource Council (DRC) filed a request to the PSC to “issue a cease and desist order requiring Meridian to halt all construction activities for the Davis Refinery to preserve the PSC’s jurisdiction over whether Meridian is required to obtain a certificate of site compatibility for the Davis Refinery.”

That’s the latest volley in the ongoing paperwork battle over whether the state’s PSC should step in and conduct a full site review to see if the proposed location for the refinery is a good one. Public Service Commissioners Randy Christmann, Julie Fedorchak and Brian Kroshus have seemed a bit skeptical of the location, and are weighing whether to step in and order such a review.

At issue, though, is what the conservation groups are calling “bait and switch” tactics by the refinery company, changing its story on the refinery’s capacity to come in just under the 50,000 barrels per day limit which would subject them to regulatory review by the PSC.

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