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Halliburton sand plant permit tabled

RICHARDTON — Richardton Planning and Zoning commissioners tabled a proposal Thursday for a Halliburton sand plant and rail spur after a landowner near the future site voiced strong opposition.

Halliburton has requested the rezoning of 300 acres on I-94 to the west of Richardton for a trans-loading facility and a frack sand plant.

But one Richardtonian brought the plans to a halt.

Julian Zimmerman, who owns land to the east of the project, accused Halliburton of pulling a bait-and-switch after changing initial plans from two years ago in a way that makes more of an impact on his property. He implored commissioners to continue the request to allow him time to meet with a Halliburton representative and discuss alternative possibilities.

Developers weren’t optimistic about finding a new plan to keep everyone happy, but said they had meet with Zimmerman.

Jamie Miller, one of the project planners, said the final proposal presented Thursday took years of renderings and especially onerous discussions with Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway.

Commission President Josh Reisenauer said if Halliburton is able to make changes that appease Zimmerman and another landowner affected, he would likely support the plan. The zoning commission’s approval is a recommendation to the Richardton City Commission.

“It’s frustrating. Halliburton needs to come and talk to me,” Zimmerman said.

Miller said the plans Zimmerman preferred two years ago were only conceptual.

“When we first had meetings with the city it was purely to get comment and feedback on what we were setting out in preliminary stages …” she said. “That wasn’t set in stone.”

But both Zimmerman and Commissioner Dan Pladson stressed that more communication along the way would’ve been a way to avoid the sore feelings Thursday.

“If there was all these changes going on and all this redesign, why wasn’t it brought to the city at that point?” Pladson asked.

Miller replied there simply wasn’t anything concrete until just weeks ago.

“The point the design was finalized was the point we brought it to the city … We feel it’s concrete and BNSF’s happy and internally it works, at that point we immediately presented it to the city,” she said.

Product would move drilling fluid densifier barite and additive calcium chloride from railcars to storage silos, and then onto about 150 trucks a day that’ll head out to the oilfield.

Citizens brought up concerns over the hazards of the chemicals, but they aren’t considered toxic or hazardous when handled appropriately, according to the commission’s report.

“I worked in the oilfields in the ’70s and both of em were being used at that time” Pladson said.

Halliburton expects to load two trains a week.

Zoning administrator Cheryl Ryan said she will set the next meeting, likely within the next month, based on when she gets notice in the paper.

Lymn is a reporter for The Press. Contact her at (701) 456-1211. Tweet her at kathlymn.