Sides spar over water permit for refinery near national park

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota water officials say a company developing an oil refinery near Theodore Roosevelt National Park has supplied adequate information to justify drawing water from an underwater aquifer.

An attorney for area landowners challenging the recommended permit for the Davis Refinery counters that information from Meridian Energy Group has been vague and contradictory.

The arguments came Wednesday during a hearing before an administrative law judge. He’ll eventually make a recommendation to the state engineer, whose final decision could be appealed to state court.

The water permit is one of several hurdles for Meridian as it develops the refinery just 3 miles (5 kilometers) from North Dakota’s top tourist attraction. Environmental groups are challenging its air quality permit in court. The refinery also will need a state wastewater permit.