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Diesel refinery planned near Dickinson

Local policymakers and business officials from Stark County received a better look at plans for a $250 million to $325 million diesel refinery that would pump up to 10,000 barrels of fuel or kerosene per day into the region, MDU Resources Group Inc. representatives said Tuesday.

Increased oil development in western North Dakota has boosted the demand for diesel in the area, and a refinery would help alleviate that need, said John Stumpf, MDU vice president of strategic planning.

The company wants to keep as much product in the region as possible, the vice president said.

Approximately 100 employees will run the 24-hour-a-day facility once it is completed in 2014, Stumpf said.

"We are hoping, if our studies all come together within the next six to eight weeks, to really be able to say with a high amount of confidence that we are going forward," he said. "It's time now to be active and communicate and engage the community."

Bismarck-based MDU outlined the facility at a Stark Development Corp. board meeting at the Dickinson Area Chamber of Commerce, and to city and county officials at the Elks Lodge on Tuesday.

Officials had concerns about carbon dioxide and odors the plant would produce. Stumpf said the smell will be limited.

MDU is not sure if it will get the 200 gallons of water it will use per minute from Southwest Water Authority or the waste water treatment plant in Dickinson when completed.

MDU and Calumet Specialty Products Partners of Indianapolis have scouted a 200-acre plot of land about five miles southwest of Dickinson on 116th Avenue Southwest.

Stark County Commissioner Ken Zander was worried about the additional traffic the plant could create.

MDU chose the location to access the railroad, Highway 10 and Interstate 94 via a proposed bypass to keep traffic out of Dickinson and South Heart, Stumpf said.

"We can't stand hardly any more traffic through South Heart," South Heart Mayor Floyd Hurt said. "It's terrible right now."

MDU seemed to put a lot of consideration into the plans to fit with the bypass, Zander said.

"They want the public to have some input and have a full understanding of what this facility is and how it will impact the area," he said.

The energy company will have to go before the Stark County Planning and Zoning Board to rezone the land for the refinery. Stumpf said zoning should be complete in July.

MDU will also hold informational meetings May 30 at the South Heart Public School and May 31 at the Badlands Activities Center in Dickinson. Times have not been announced.