Epitome Energy, LLC, is planning to construct a new soybean oil extraction and refining facility in Crookston, with a processing capacity of 120,000 bushels (3,600 tons) per day. The facility will produce soybean oil, hulls, and meal; the process removes the soybean hulls, rolls the soybean into flakes, extracts oil from the flakes, and dries and grinds the de-oiled flakes into meal using solvent extraction. The oil will be sold both for biodiesel production and further processed for use in food. Construction and operation of the new facility requires an environmental review and a number of permits.
We invite you to review and comment on the environmental assessment worksheet for Epitome Energy.
An environmental review describes the proposed project's potential effects on air, land, and water resources, and ways to reduce negative environmental effects. When the review identifies unacceptable environmental impacts, the project's proposers can make changes. The information is also used to establish permit conditions that will protect our environment. Environmental review is not an approval or final decision on whether a project can go forward.
Epitome Energy has prepared an environmental assessment worksheet on its project. An air emission risk analysis (AERA) was conducted as part of the environmental assessment worksheet to quantify the potential cancer and non-cancer human health risks due to air pollution. The MPCA considers worst-case emissions from the facility and compares the results to health benchmarks. The results demonstrated that human health and the environment will be protected.
Epitome Energy has applied for an air permit from the MPCA. The facility is expected to emit fine particles, volatile organic compounds, and the hazardous air pollutant n-hexane. In addition, emissions from combustion sources also include nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, other hazardous air pollutants, and greenhouse gases.
An air permit sets requirements on a facility's air emissions and operating limits to meet federal and state air quality regulations. We will draft an air permit and a technical support document with justification of the permit requirements. The draft permit will be available during the public notice period on our Public notices webpage.
Aboveground storage tanks
Epitome Energy plans to store more than a million gallons of soybean oils, hexane, and smaller amounts of acids and bases in aboveground storage tanks at the facility. The MPCA regulates commercial storage tanks that hold substances that could be hazardous to the environment or human health if released. Tanks must be built and installed to meet a set of technical standards and comply with state rules and permits. Epitome Energy will need an aboveground storage tank major facility permit to operate its tanks. The permit will address leak prevention and detection, material transfer procedures, and secondary containment for potential leaks or spills.
Epitome Energy must acquire a construction stormwater permit before building the project, and control stormwater runoff from the site during construction. When stormwater drains off a construction site, it carries sediment and other pollutants that can harm lakes, streams, and wetlands. The site is within one mile of the Red Lake River and will disturb 50 or more acres of soil. As part of the permit application, Epitome must describe the practices it will use to control stormwater both during construction and from the facility's new impervious surfaces after construction.
Next steps and timeline
On July 19, the MPCA distributed the EAW for Epitome Energy’s planned soybean processing facility for a 30-day review and comment period. Submit written comments online or by mail to Charles Peterson in the MPCA St. Paul office.
After the comment period, the MPCA will review all comments and determine if additional environmental review is necessary. If it's considered not necessary, the project will proceed to permitting. Epitome Energy will require permits from permitting authorities in addition to the MPCA.