Stark County commissioners give nod to oil waste facilityStark County commissioners gave an out-of-state developer the final go-ahead Tuesday to build an oil waste facility near Belfield, but not before a legal representative of residents raised concerns.
Stark County commissioners gave an out-of-state developer the final go-ahead Tuesday to build an oil waste facility near Belfield, but not before a legal representative of residents raised concerns.
Tuesday’s special meeting, which took place at the Stark County Courthouse in Dickinson, allowed a lawyer and state health representative to throw in their two cents on the waste facility.
Derrick Braaten, attorney for Baumstark Braaten Law Partners in Bismarck, represented residents who are against the project and kicked off the meeting by addressing possible health risks that would emerge if commissioners OK’d the facility.
While Bross agreed to all the terms set forth by the commission, Braaten warned commissioners they were treading on dangerous territory.
“This site is a jigsaw puzzle,” he said. “This is going to come back to you.”
Braaten provided specific reasons as to why his clients are against the facility.
“It’s not possible to clean anything perfectly,” Braaten said, adding that the facility would expose the environment to a cocktail of hazardous materials via “inevitable” leaks. He also said parts of the facility would sit on top of Southwest Water pipelines.
Luke Bross, chief operating officer for Location Service Inc., the company behind the project, said Braaten was off base.
“This facility is not going to handle hazardous waste. It’s made clear in federal law and it’s made clear in state law,” Bross said, adding that the company aims to “leave the land and the soil more suitable for vegetative growth than we found it.”
Bross added that Location Service has never planned to build on pipelines, and would provide double layer protection to prevent leaks.
Braaten also said he and his clients were suspicious of Location Service’s scarce web publicity.
In Location Service’s nearly 30-year existence, Bross said the company has never been involved in a lawsuit or environmental accident. He added that his company’s lack of Internet publicity is a good thing.
“The fact that there is nothing to be found about us, I think, speaks to us,” he said. “It means that we’re doing our work diligently and not causing any problems.”
Braaten also questioned the effectiveness of the company’s $200,000 bond, which Bross said is set by the North Dakota Department of Health.
When Braaten accused Location Service of not properly informing the public of its intentions, Bross said Location Service presented in four public meetings since September.
“There’s been countless opportunities for people to speak,” he said.
Scott Radig, director for the Division of Waste Management within the Department of Health, said he has never seen a similar facility close because of health or regulatory reasons. He added that there is no provision in state law that addresses the scenario, but clean-up costs would most likely “fall back to the county.”
At the end of the meeting, commissioners posed a list of conditions that would have to be met.
Conditions include signing a road agreement that would require Location Service to engage in proper dust control and provide signage as needed. Additionally, commissioners said Location Service would have to pay for any additional signs on surrounding roads, obtain proper permits and approvals from state agencies and return land to agriculture use in the event it is not being used as a special waste landfill.