BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota regulators have approved the $150 million expansion of the Roosevelt Gas Plant in McKenzie County, though they ordered Houston-based Kinder Morgan to minimize noise and light pollution for neighboring landowners.
The three-member Public Service Commission voted unanimously Monday to approve the expansion of the plant about 7Â½ miles south of Watford City, The Bismarck Tribune reported.
The plant processes 50 million cubic feet of natural gas per day. Kinder Morgan subsidiary Hiland Partners Holdings plans to build another plant at the same location to process another 150 million cubic feet per day. It's to begin operating in a year. State Health Department officials are reviewing the company's application for an air quality permit.
Natural gas not captured at oil wells is burned off, a practice known as flaring that wastes the resource and can degrade air quality. North Dakota has struggled to build enough infrastructure to capture the gas. The Kinder Morgan project would be the sixth natural gas plant expansion or new plant under development in North Dakota.
"It's another important project to reduce flaring in the Bakken (oil patch), to help accommodate the massive amount of gas that's being produced along with the crude oil in the Bakken," Commissioner Julie Fedorchak said.
During a public hearing in September in Watford City, landowners who live within a mile of the plant said they had not been contacted by the company about the proposed expansion. Neighbor Denton Zubke said noise from the plant on certain days already is barely tolerable.
In their order, commissioners directed the company to take all "reasonable measures" to mitigate noise and light impacts to neighbors. Regulators also directed the company to provide landowners with contact information for company representatives.
Kinder Morgan spokeswoman Katherine Hill said in a statement that the company has talked with landowners about their concerns and is taking steps to minimize impacts.