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Opinion: Loss of CHS project disappointing

JAMESTOWN, N.D. -- It's disappointing that CHS will not build a fertilizer plant near Spiritwood, N.D. We know the Aug. 12 announcement must have been a blow for those people who worked to bring this project to fruition, including CHS. But the co...

North Dakta
Agweek

JAMESTOWN, N.D. - It’s disappointing that CHS will not build a fertilizer plant near Spiritwood, N.D.
We know the Aug. 12 announcement must have been a blow for those people who worked to bring this project to fruition, including CHS. But the company has to make decisions in its best interests - and its customers - and that’s what it did when it made the announcement.
CHS announced almost three years ago it wanted to build a fertilizer plant near Spiritwood. The news was a boost to the area and the talk around town.
New industry, new jobs
It was a new industry bring-
ing new jobs, an impressive - and expensive - $1.2 billion project at that time that would inject economic activity into the region.
As work continued on the project, the costs continued to grow, as well. CHS said Aug. 12 escalating costs and concerns over water supply prompted the decision to end the project, which had grown to more than $3.3 billion.
Water concerns
We know economic development is a risk. In this case, water supply was a concern for CHS. The North Dakota State Water Commission would not authorize water permits from the Spiritwood Aquifer so CHS could have an adequate water supply for its operations.
While other water sources were explored, costs continued to rise, and other options became available for CHS to acquire nitrogen fertilizer. In the end, it became more economical for CHS to invest in a company that already operates nitrogen fertilizer plants than to build one of its own.
Some bright spots
While it is a setback for economic development, we have to remember other efforts have also paid off in significant projects: Great River Energy, Spiritwood Station and Dakota Spirit AgEnergy are completed and operating. The rail loop is in place at Spiritwood Energy Park, and there’s room for more business.
The dust hasn’t yet settled on the loss of this project. It’s disappointing it didn’t happen, but we’re optimistic more opportunities await the area.
Editor’s note: This editorial originally appeared in the Jamestown (N.D.) Sun. Agweek and the Sun are owned by Forum Communications Co.

Related Topics: JAMESTOWNNORTH DAKOTA
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