Board of Supervisors Get Cold Feet on Spiritwood N Project

November 14, 2013 10:09 AM

CHS is in the planning stages of a greenfield nitrogen plant outside Spiritwood, North Dakota but as the $1.5 billion project unfolds, a building permit fee is holding up the show.

The typical rate is one dollar for every 1,000 ofd construction costs. The Spiritwood nitrogen production facility would cost an extra $1 million in building fees alone, a fee that has CHS thinking twice about the North Dakota location.

The conversation at a meeting of Township Supervisors on Monday quickly turned form a discussion of building permits to question whether the board wants the increased traffic and safety risks that a world-scale nitrogen facility would create.

CHS was quick to point out that in exchange for a lower building permit rate, the company would finance the three miles of new road that would need to be built and improve 1.5 miles of existing road leading to the grounds.

The board noted that the fee was necessary because of the inherent safety risks posed by a fertilizer plant in proximity to residents. Enter the bad press and misinformation that characterized the world's view of fertilizer manufacture and storage over the spring and summer.

The Board of Supervisors seem to be getting cold feet and as groundbreaking nears, it is very late in the game for the board to lose its nerve. Other states have welcomed fertilizer manufacturers with tax incentives and bond issuances.

CHS and the Board will have to meet again once CHS has had a change to sketch some figures on their proposed funding of road improvements, but if North Dakota turns CHS away, there will be no shortage of bidders hoping to woo the CHS facility into their states.

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