Independent analysis raises numerous concerns about air pollution from Meridian Energy Group’s proposed oil refinery near Theodore Roosevelt National Park’s boundary in North Dakota. The North Dakota Department of Health and the National Park Service are currently reviewing an air permit application by the company.
Medora, ND – National Parks Conservation Association today released an independent analysis, raising numerous concerns about air pollution from Meridian Energy Group’s proposed oil refinery near Theodore Roosevelt National Park’s boundary in North Dakota. The North Dakota Department of Health and the National Park Service are currently reviewing an air permit application by the company.
“National Parks Conservation Association is deeply concerned about the impact of air pollution from the proposed refinery on Theodore Roosevelt National Park,” said Stephanie Kodish, Clean Air Program Director for National Parks Conservation Association. “The park is already negatively impacted by air pollution, without a massive oil refinery at its doorstep. The question is not whether it will do additional harm to the park – but rather how much.”
Thus far, Meridian Energy Group’s application materials claim that the proposed refinery is a “minor” source of pollution. However, independent analysis conducted on behalf of NPCA found that the refinery is almost certainly a major source of pollution that would release substantial amounts of carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds and hazardous air pollutants–all harmful to human and ecological health. The designation matters because unlike major sources of pollution, a minor source permit does not require a rigorous assessment of pollution impacts as well as the best pollution controls. The analysis also found that Meridian Energy Group significantly underestimated or omitted emissions in its application from sources including flaring events; startup, shutdown, and malfunction; and associated equipment, among other sources. The proposed refinery would process 55,000 barrels of crude oil – or approximately 2.3 million gallons - per day.
The independent analysis is not the first time that concerns have been brought during the air permit application process. The North Dakota Department of Health has also questioned the adequacy of many emission estimates used in the application. The emission estimates are a factor that determines whether the source of pollution will undergo a robust or lax review process.
Theodore Roosevelt National Park stands as a testament to America’s conservation legacy and the very president who helped shape it. The park welcomed more than 750,000 visitors in 2016 who spent nearly $50 million in nearby communities, supporting over 650 local jobs.
“Families plan their visits to Theodore Roosevelt National Park for its stunning vistas and roaming bison herds – not to see Meridian’s massive refinery as they approach the park,” said Bart Melton, Northern Rockies Regional Director for National Parks Conservation Association. “Economic growth in North Dakota does not have to come at the expense of air quality, scenic views and night skies around one of America’s most special places.”
More than 15,000 NPCA members have asked Meridian Energy Group’s CEO William Prentice to find a more suitable, less harmful location to build its oil refinery.
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About National Parks Conservation Association: Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than 1.3 million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s natural, historic, and cultural heritage for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.
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