Meridian Energy Group, Inc. Submits Responses to 11,000 Public Comments Made to North Dakota Department of Health – for the Davis Refinery Permit to Construct
BELFIELD, North Dakota (Tuesday, March 20th, 2018) – Meridian Energy Group, Inc., the leading developer of innovative and environmentally-compliant oil refining facilities, submitted responses to all public comments received by the Air Quality Division of the North Dakota Department of Health (“NDDoH”). NDDoH officials are reviewing all comments and responses before issuing the Final Permit to Construct (“PTC”) for the Davis Refinery. NDDoH closed the 45-day public comment period on January 26, 2018, a week after a public meeting was held wherein the NDDoH detailed the technical merits of the Project and the reasoning behind their decision to issue the Draft PTC as a synthetic minor source for public comment.
During the 45-day public comment period, the NDDoH received nearly 11,000 comments. A detailed analysis shows that 97.5% percent of the comments received were “form letter” comments, essentially consisting of email blasts from several different member-based websites. One of the organizations, which has approximately 1.3 million members, submitted 10,068 form letters via email through their website; this represents 93% of total comments received by NDDoH, but also represents less than 1% of that organization’s total membership. Meridian has carefully responded to each and every such comment, even the form letter email comments, but thought that it was interesting that none of those form emails contained comments relevant to the technical or legal basis for the Draft PTC issued by NDDoH in December. Only 2.5% of the total comments received were found to be “unique.” While 1.8% of the comments received were from North Dakota respondents, over 22% were from the west coast, specifically Oregon, Washington and California.
William Prentice, CEO of Meridian Energy Group said of the Public Comment responses, “When you consider that NDDoH spent 15 months reviewing Meridian’s PTC application and the vast amount of engineering material and air quality monitoring that was prepared to substantiate the application, it is no surprise that opponents of the Davis Refinery were unable to find material defects in the technical or legal basis for the Draft PTC issued by NDDoH on December 8, 2017. The process of reviewing and analyzing nearly 11,000 comments received by NDDoH was almost as exhausting as the application review process itself. The lack of a substantive basis for opposing the actual Draft PTC is a testimony to the efforts of NDDoH during the review process, and to the expertise of their staff. It has also showed Meridian the wisdom of NDDoH’s decision to involve a number of other state and federal agencies in the review process, including the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Park Service. Meridian is also very proud of its own efforts in the design and permitting of the Davis Refinery, and is very pleased that Meridian is now one step closer to being able to build the cleanest refinery in the world in North Dakota!”
Edward Martinez, CEO of ZIA Environmental Engineers & Consultants had this to say of the Public Comment response process, “Even when dealing with an unprecedented number of public comments, we have made a concerted effort to provide a full and detailed response on behalf of Meridian to each question and issue that was raised. Our responses will supplement those being provided by the State.” Martinez added, “In addition, it was very interesting to address questions raised regarding the air quality impact from the Davis Refinery’s synthetic minor source operations on Theodore Roosevelt National Park (“TRNP”). Using EPA published values for vehicular tailpipe emissions, ZIA conducted a conservative comparison of the vehicular emissions generated by the traffic solely from the Medora Scenic Loop within the TRNP. This preliminary analysis, using vehicle visitor data published by the National Park Service, shows that the vehicular emissions generated from the visitors within TRNP are conservatively several multiples higher than the emissions anticipated from the proposed Davis Refinery located several miles away.”
Dan Hedrington, Senior Project Manager of Short Elliot Hendrickson Inc. says, “Even though there was a fairly large volume of comments, we were pleased that the comments provided Meridian Energy with an opportunity to supply the truth about misconceptions regarding the project. We were also pleased with those who took time to provide supportive comments, something that doesn’t happen frequently during public comment periods in general.”
Read Full Release Here (BusinessInsider.com)