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Letter: There must be better place for refinery

To the editor,

As citizens of North Dakota, we must act to inform our elected officials that we object to the building of an oil refinery just two and one-half miles from our most valuable and cherished natural resource, the Badlands and the Teddy Roosevelt National Park.

Time is short. Meridian Energy, with its financial and administrative office in Irvine, Calif., has applied for permits to build the refinery with the ND Departments of Health and the Public Service Commission. We must let these two important state agencies know that we oppose this reckless proposal. We should also make our objections known to Gov. Burgum.

The financial interests of a private company should not be allowed to trample on the values of the people of North Dakota. We value the beauty and integrity of these pristine and irreplaceable natural treasures and have a moral obligation to protect them for future generations. The negative impacts of the refinery on the area, which also includes the National Grasslands, could be horrible.

Jim Fuglie, whose articles about this issue may be found online, has reported that a study by Dr. Phyllis Fox, an environmental and chemical engineer, concluded that the refinery "is almost certainly a 'major' source of pollution that would release substantial amounts of carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, and hazardous air pollution—all harmful to human and

ecological health."

Harold Shafer must be turning over in his grave. He had the vision for the development of Medora as a tourist and family vacation and recreation area for North Dakota and he certainly recognized the natural beauty and priceless value of the North Dakota Badlands. He was a very successful business person who understood that money was not the only important value in our lives.

If North Dakota needs another refinery, which is debatable, there must be dozens of other possible locations that would not pose a threat to the Badlands and National Grasslands. Act today to let our state officials know that their first obligation is to the people of North Dakota and our values and require Meridian Energy to move its refinery to a more responsible location.

Dan Rice

Amy Phillips