Fairfield no place for water facilityMEDORA — A small-town home to more than 100 people is not suitable for a “fracking” water reclamation facility, Billings County commissioners unanimously decided Tuesday at the Billings County Courthouse.
MEDORA — A small-town home to more than 100 people is not suitable for a “fracking” water reclamation facility, Billings County commissioners unanimously decided Tuesday at the Billings County Courthouse.
The facility would add more traffic to the already busy Highway 85, Commission Chairman Jim Arthaud said, adding, “that’s where our school is. That’s where our major intersection is.”
Clean Energy Fluids Systems LLC representatives presented their idea for a facility that would separate chemicals and water from hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, back-flow water used to extract oil, which would cost up to $14 million. They requested land two miles northwest of Fairfield to be rezoned from agricultural to industrial for the facility, according to the rezoning application.
The Billings County Planning and Zoning Commission passed the request, but there were concerns, said Stacey Swanson, zoning director.
The application seemed incomplete and inconsistent with testimonies given at meetings, she added.
“They do seem organized, but they do seem very inexperienced at the same time,” she said.
Clean Energy also held an informational meeting Thursday at the Fairfield Fire Hall to answer questions. Like the previous meeting, the idea was met with opposition because there wasn’t enough information on the design of the project or how it would affect the area, Fairfield resident Roger Klym said.
“The magnitude of this oil play in North Dakota, in itself, is going to leave an unprecedented footprint on our landscape and way of life, which is why it is even more important that the decision makers are fully educated and informed,” Klym said.
Clean Energy representative Steven Alderin said there would be no fumes coming from the facility because of state-of-the-art equipment. He added he could bring in a complete plan.
Clean Energy can come back once it gets an operating permit from the North Dakota Department of Health, Arthaud said. He added that there would be opposition wherever they went, but there are other appropriate places to put the facility.
“I know you guys can do it. I just don’t think this is the right spot,” he said.
Several residents thanked the commission for denying the rezone, but Arthaud said the company will be back.
Swanson said Clean Energy would have to go through planning and zoning because it would have to amend its application.