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MPCA seeks input on Flint Hills project

The Flint Hills Resources Pine Bend Refinery generates refinery grade propylene. The refinery would like to sell the propylene, and to do so has proposed a project to store and distribute the substance.

As part of the permitting process the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has put together an Environmental Assessment Worksheet. MPCA representative Bill Lynott said the EAW looks at the potential impacts the change could have on the environment and determines whether more steps need to be taken. The EAW has been put together and now the MPCA wants to know what residents have to say about the project.

According to the EAW, Flint Hills plans to construct two storage spheres, an associated rail loading rack and an expanded rail car staging area at its Pine Bend Refinery. The EAW states that the project would not result in an increase in the refinery's crude oil processing capacity.

MPCA representative Steve Sommer said the EAW is required because of the large quantity of a flammable substance that would be stored. The project calls for the construction of a facility that's capable of storing one million gallons. Refinery-grade propylene is a flammable substance.

As part of the review process, Sommer said they are encouraging residents to look over the EAW and share any comments they have with the MPCA. While it's a fairly lengthy document, Sommer said it contains a lot of information about what the refinery has planned with this project as well as others. Lynott said the comments received will be used to determine the potential for significant effects from the project and whether there is a need for an Environment Impact Statement. An EIS is a more in-depth environmental review. An EAW must be completed before the issuance of permits for the project.

If approved, the project will be constructed between April 2013 and September 2014.

Written comments will be accepted until 4:30 p.m. Feb. 20. Comments on the EAW must be submitted in writing to Steve Sommer, MPCA, 520 Lafayette Rd. N., Saint Paul, MN 55151-4194, by email to or by fax to 651-297-2343.

For more information or to view the EAW visit the MPCA website at Residents also can contact Sommer for a copy of the EAW.

Emily Zimmer
Emily Zimmer has worked as a staff writer for the Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. She has a degree in journalism from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Outside of work, Emily enjoys running, reading and gardening. You can follow Emily's gardening adventures at the Areavoices blog East of Weedin'
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