Earlier this week I wrote about opponents of the Davis Refinery project – which would be the first greenfield crude oil refinery built in the United States in something like 40 years – claiming that the facility would be too close to Theodore Roosevelt National Park.
“An oil refinery has no business at the doorstep of a national park,” former park superintendent Valerie Naylor told the Associated Press. “We wouldn’t allow an oil refinery to be built within view of Yellowstone or Yosemite, and it should be no different for Theodore Roosevelt.”
That park is extremely important to North Dakota on a number of fronts. It plays a role in conservation and preservation, obviously. It’s draw to tourists is also important. If Naylor’s comments were accurate we should all be extremely concerned about this project.
Unfortunately, they’re not accurate. As I wrote previously, the refinery isn’t “at the doorstep” of the park. It’s miles away from the nearest boundary of the park. Nor is the refinery “within view” of the park, something which has been tested previously.
Yesterday on my radio show I had on Dan Hedrington. He works for Short Elliot Hendricks and is in charge of site work at the Davis Refinery project. He was involved in the aforementioned view testing.
He said that from the park’s visitor center, and from the southeast corner of the park nearest the project, the refinery is actually over the horizon. There is no way to see it directly. What’s more, his people flew a kite – one that was 11 feet wide and 35 feet long – at 150 feet in the air (the height of what will be the tallest point of the refinery) and it couldn’t be seen from Buck Hill which has the highest elevation in the park.
Not even with binoculars.
Here’s our full interview: