Editorial: North Dakota tribal refinery has promise
"No new oil refineries have been approved in the United States since 1976. But last week, three federal agencies issued a final environment impact statement for a 13,000-barrel per day clean fuels refinery proposed by the Three Affiliated Tribes for a site near Makoti. The proposed refinery would process pre-refined oil from Canadian tar sands into gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and propane.

The Environmental Protection Agency, one of the federal agencies involved, prefers the refinery get a Clean Water Act discharge permit, which would need the construction of a wastewater treatment plant. The other agencies are the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Department of Interior. There's now a 30-day comment period for the environmental impact statement.

There's no guarantee a refinery will be built by the Three Tribes; given the history of the industry, the odds are against it. But the idea has already survived hefty choruses of naysayers. Never say never, the old line refrains.

The development of an oil refinery by the Three Tribes near the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation would offer good-paying jobs to an area where unemployment has been chronic. It would be the people of Fort Berthold taking hold of their own destiny. Already Fort Berthold Community College has started a two-year energy training program for potential refinery workers."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Refinery idea has potential (The Bismarck Tribune 9/3)

Related Stories:
North Dakota tribe waits for EPA on oil refinery (2/11)