North Dakota Public Service Commission Dismisses Complaint Against Meridian Energy Group, Inc.
Company continues construction of the Davis Refinery
BELFIELD, North Dakota (Wednesday, October 10th, 2018) – Meridian Energy Group, Inc., the leading developer of innovative and environmentally-compliant oil refining facilities, announced today that a complaint filed against its Davis Refinery project has been dismissed by the North Dakota Public Service Commission (“PSC”) for lack of jurisdiction. The Commission adopted the recommendation of the Administrative Law Judge and unanimously voted to grant Meridian’s motion to dismiss the complaint.
The complaint urged the PSC to assert jurisdiction over the Davis project and require Meridian to obtain a PSC Siting Certificate from the PSC before constructing the Davis Refinery, a process that would have taken up additional time and resources, even though the Davis Refinery had already been given full siting approval when it was unanimously approved by the Billings County Board of Commissioners in July of 2016, where Meridian was issued its Zoning and Conditional Use Permit. This decision comes just one week after Administrative Law Judge Patrick Ward recommended for a second time the PSC dismiss the complaint, stating the limits of the PSC’s jurisdiction under state law is “clear and unambiguous.” Judge Ward further stated, “Because the planned capacity is under the jurisdictional threshold … plaintiff’s complaint must be dismissed.”
The Davis Refinery is being designed with a throughput capacity of 49,500 bpd of Bakken crude oil. Oil refining facilities that are designed to, or capable of, processing 50,000 bpd or more of crude oil fall under the PSC’s siting jurisdiction. Meridian has initiated site preparation and grading at the Davis site, and is proceeding with final design efforts. Meridian anticipates that work will resume in the field in May 2019, with foundations work and further construction activities. Full commercial operation of the Davis Refinery is expecting during late 2020.
Meridian Chairman and CEO William Prentice on the PSC decision, “Meridian is grateful to the Commissioners for their careful consideration of this matter and is very appreciative of the decision that the Commission reached. Meridian also believes that it is important to acknowledge the diligence and thoroughness of the Commissioners and staff of the County of Billings during the process leading up to the approval by the County of the Rezoning and Conditional Use Permit in July of 2016. All of the State and local officials in North Dakota that Meridian has encountered and worked with in permitting of the Davis Refinery over the past three-plus years have done an exceptional job protecting the interests of the people of North Dakota and ensuring that the Davis Refinery will be designed, constructed and operated properly.”
Frank Goseco, Meridian’s EVP and General Counsel, said of the complaint dismissal, “Litigation associated with permitting is the new normal in major energy projects such as the Davis Refinery. Meridian will continue to face these challenges as they arise, and is confident that its technical expertise, careful preparation and execution, and policy of full compliance will pave the way to success in this area.”
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