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ND PSC Does Not Have Jurisdiction Over Meridian Refinery

Efforts by environmental groups to put the Meridian Energy Group refinery at Belfield under the jurisdiction of the ND Public Service Commission were thwarted by an administrative law judge.

The judge, Patrick Ward, early in September ruled that a complaint from the Dakota Resource Council and Environmental Law & Policy Center be dismissed.

Because Meridian changed its plans to reduce the refining capacity from 55,000 BOPD to 49,500 BOPD, the PSC no longer has jurisdiction, the company told Ward.

The ND Dept. of Health had also issued an air quality permit earlier this year for 55,000 BOPD.

“Meridian plans to construct the Davis Refinery 111 as a single phase with a capacity of 49,500 bpd,” said attorney Lawrence Bender. As a result, the Davis Refinery is not a "gas or liquid energy conversion facility", which is subject to the Siting Act under the jurisdiction of the PSC.

“Meridian is not required to obtain a certificate of site compatibility for the facility prior to construction, and the PSC cannot exercise jurisdiction over this matter,” Bender said.

The environmental groups wanted the PSC regulatory authority because the refinery would impact their “use and enjoyment” of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, which is only three miles from the refinery.