Flint Hills Refinery

Flint Hills continues to push for a less stringent standard for removal of a spilled chemical from groundwater at the company’s shuttered North Pole refinery. As KUAC’s Dan Bross reports, removal of the industrial solvent sulfolane (SULL-fo-lane) is costing the refinery a lot of money, and opinions differ on how clean groundwater should be.

The North Pole City Council tonight will consider final approval the city’s $5.7 million operating budget for the coming year.

The budget will not include an increase in sales taxes, except on alcohol and tobacco.

The North Pole City Council is looking at increased sales taxes. Mayor Bryce Ward has proposed the hikes to cover an anticipated $180,000-plus revenue shortfall. The public turned out in opposition to the tax increases at a City Council meeting Monday night. But the council plans to reconsider a revamped version of the mayor’s proposal next week.


KUAC file photo

North Pole’s mayor says the City Council is considering hiking sales taxes to cover an estimated $180,000 drop in property-tax revenues caused by the shutdown of the Flint Hills Resources refinery. Ward and Fairbanks Mayor John Eberhart heard about other lcommunities' budgets challenges while attending the Alaska Municipal League’s annual local-government conference in Anchorage.


KUAC file photo

State officials have approved a plan proposed by Flint Hills Resources-Alaska to continue an ongoing cleanup of sulfolane and other contaminants that have leaked from its North Pole refinery since the 1970s.The agreement may help improve the chances of Flint Hills eventually selling the refinery, which it closed in May.


KUAC file photo

A panel of experts wrapped up two days of meetings Thursday in Fairbanks that will help the state Department of Environmental Conservation determine the appropriate cleanup level for contamination of North Pole’s groundwater caused by chemicals leaking from the refinery now owned by Flint Hills Resources.


GVEA

Officials with Golden Valley Electric Association have reached a deal with the parent company of Petro Star refinery in North Pole to buy fuel for a North Pole power plant that won’t be available from the Flint Hills Resources refinery when it shuts down in two weeks. GVEA ratepayers may see the impact of that deal on their monthly bills sometime after July 1st.


KUAC file photo

Officials with Flint Hills Resources-Alaska began shutting down the company’s North Pole refinery today. The closure of the facility that makes gasoline is the first step toward mothballing the whole facility – the largest crude-oil refinery in the state.


KUAC file photo

Officials with Flint Hills Resources Alaska announced today that they will halt processing crude oil at the company’s North Pole refinery over the next few months and shut down the facility. As KUAC’s Tim Ellis reports, company officials decided to shut down the refinery because of rising costs to run it and shrinking profit margins – and ongoing costs of cleaning up groundwater tainted by an industrial solvent that leaked from the refinery for years.


Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation

Teams of lawyers representing the past and present owners of the North Pole refinery are preparing for the next round in court while awaiting rulings by a Fairbanks judge after a weeklong hearing in the long-running legal fight over who’s responsible for tainting North Pole’s groundwater with an industrial solvent, and who should pay for helping area residents whose drinking water has been fouled by sulfolane.


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