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Stark County refinery proposal for Dickinson area sparks curiosity

Bob Kuylen of South Heart asks questions about a $325 million diesel refinery at MDU Resources Group Inc. and Calumet Refining LLC's informational meeting Wednesday at South Heart Public School.

SOUTH HEART -- About 40 people showed up Wednesday at South Heart Public School with questions about a $325 million refinery that could go up between Dickinson and South Heart.

Bismarck-based MDU Resources Group Inc. and Calumet Refining LLC of Indianapolis intend to construct the refinery approximately five miles southwest of Dickinson. It will be staffed by about 100 employees.

The plant should produce up to 10,000 barrels of diesel or kerosene per day and will need 200 gallons of water a minute to operate.

The location is ideal because it has access to the railroad, Highway 10 and Interstate 94, said John Stumpf, MDU vice president of strategic planning.

People questioned pollution from the plant, but modern facilities don't produce smoke, MDU officials said.

The plant is a good fit, he added, and the commission has not heard concerns about its location.

People seemed curious more than anything at the meeting, said MDU Public Relations Manager Timothy Rasmussen. The two companies want to hold up to its high standards, Stumpf said.

"We really are sincere in our quest to have an open dialogue about the plant," he said. "Our intention is to be a good neighbor."

The area needs a refinery like this to alleviate the shortages for farmers and ranchers, Dickinson resident Boniface Knopik said.

A second meeting will be held at 7 p.m. today at the Badlands Activities Center in Dickinson.

The land for the facility will have to be rezoned by the Stark County Planning and Zoning Commission and County Commission. MDU plans to have zoning completed in July and have the facility running in 2014.