Flint Hills reaches deal with environmental groups


The owners of Minnesota's largest oil refinery will reduce the greenhouse gas emissions associated with a plant expansion under a deal reached with two environmental groups.

In return those groups have agreed not to oppose the state permits Flint Hills Resources is seeking to upgrade its Pine Bend refinery in Rosemount. A Flint Hills spokesman tells WCCO Pine Bend generates about half the transportation fuel used in Minnesota.

The company is seeking permits for a $400 million expansion of the refinery. It's agreement with both the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy and the Environmental Integrity Project comes early in the regulatory process. As MPR reports, both sides say the deal will save time and resources that might otherwise have been spent debating the project.

Refining more oil generally increases emissions. The Pioneer Press reports the efficiencies and monitoring Flint Hills have agreed to will make that increase of particulate matter and greenhouse gases 20 percent smaller.

Flint Hills also agreed to contribute $1 million to Project Green Fleet, which is an effort reduce emissions from diesel-fueled vehicles.

Here's the announcement from Flint Hills.

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