Hearing set on ConAgra appeal of Magnida fertilizer plant permit

25 July 2014 20:55 Source:ICIS News

HOUSTON (ICIS)--A hearing on the appeal by ConAgra regarding an air quality permit granted by Idaho regulations to the proposed nitrogen plant from Magnolia Nitrogen Idaho (Magnida) will be held on 28 July, Magnida CEO Ric Sorbo said on Friday.

The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) will conduct the review in Boise and will hear why it should revoke the permit from agricultural titan ConAgra, for its subsidiary Lamb Weston which has a french fry plant in American Falls near the proposed fertilizer project.

The company in May filed an appeal over the permit issued in April by the DEQ claiming concerns over issues related to employee safety, nuisance odors, waste waters and potential construction dust.

It is expected the presiding officer of the appeal hearing will render a decision on the matter in August, according to Sorbo.

Houston-based Magnida has announced intentions to construct an estimated $1.5bn nitrogen plant in eastern Idaho which will be designed as an environmentally-compliant plan, with a goal to lessen the need for imported fertilizer within the region.

Sorbo met with ConAgra and DEQ officials earlier this month which allowed for the timetable of the appeal process to be established and provide a chance to further discuss a possible resolution to the concerns.

He said on Friday that neither side has changed their position in the time that has elapsed since the appeal but that “Magnida and ConAgra continue to keep the communication channel open, but there is no progress to report”.  

At this time construction is planned to commence in mid-2015 with production anticipated to begin by late 2017. In June, Magnida selected Societe Generale to lead the financing efforts which are still expected to be finalised by year’s end.

The planned nitrogen plant will produce 2,200 tonnes of ammonia per day, which will be used to make urea, urea ammonium nitrate (UAN) and diesel exhaust fluid (DEF). In addition to ammonia the producer will have daily production of urea in the mid-2,000 tonnes range and approximately 1,500 tonnes of UAN.

By Mark Milam