State says permit for refinery near national park justified

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Attorneys for North Dakota’s Health Department say the agency didn’t improperly discount its own concerns about pollution from a proposed oil refinery 3 miles (5 kilometers) from Theodore Roosevelt National Park when it permitted the project in June.

Environmental groups sued in July over the state permit for the Davis Refinery. They note the Health Department initially had concerns about the amount of harmful pollutants the refinery might generate. They question why state officials changed their mind.

The groups want a state judge to vacate the permit and order the Health Department to either adequately explain its rationale or launch a more stringent permit process.

The state says developer Meridian Energy Group provided information that eased initial concerns about refinery pollution. It wants the judge to affirm its permit decision.

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