Industrial Siting Council to consider permit for Simplot ammonia plant

by WyoFile staff
— May 28, 2014

The Wyoming Industrial Siting Council will consider a constriction permit application for Simplot Phosphates, LLC’s proposed Rock Springs Ammonia Facility Project on Wednesday, June 4, at the Holiday Inn Rock Springs.

The appointed seven-member council will consider the application at 10 a.m. under rules governing contested cases. Council members Gregg Bierei, James Miller, Richard O’Gara, Peter Brandjord, John Corra and Sandy Shuptrine will consider the permit under the chairmanship of Shawn Warner.

The plant is expected to cost more than $350 million, according to state documents.

Simplot proposes to build and operate the plant on its land at the company’s phosphate fertilizer complex 5 miles south of Rock Springs. The ammonia plant would produce 600 tons a day for use in the fertilizer factory.

Ultimately, the plant would employ 27 full-time workers when fully staffed, according to the company’s 385-page application. Construction would begin in June or July, 2014, and would employ up to 460 persons during the peak of activity in 2016. The plant would be completed that summer.

The plant would require about 150 gallons of water per minute “within the currently permitted level” for the existing phosphates complex, the application states. The company expects “no significant environmental impacts.” Simplot would build the plant on 20 acres in the big sagebrush and short- to mid-grass prairie communities.

Anhydrous ammonia is one of the major raw materials used in the existing fertilizer plant, which produces 400,000 tons of phosphorus pentoxide for fertilizer annually. Today, Simplot buys ammonia from an outside source and ships it to the fertilizer plant by rail. Rising transportation costs and other factors lead the company to seek its own ammonia production.

Simplot expects to employ up to 100 local workers during the 25-months of construction and spend $49 million in the area for equipment, materials and services, the application states.

Simplot would pay impact assistance funds to local communities, estimated at $383,502 a month, based on a formula that tracks the growth of sales and use taxes. The plant would generate an estimated $7.9 million in ad valorem tax revenue over the next five years, Simplot says.

To produce fertilizer, Simplot uses phosphate from a mine near Vernal, Utah, that’s made into a slurry and piped 96 miles to Rock Springs. Ammonia would be made at the proposed plant from natural gas. Questar would build a 2.5 mile 8-inch natural gas pipeline to the plant.

Public comments can be made in the form of a “limited appearance statement,” that must be written and given to officials at the hearing, according to a Wyoming DEQ legal notice.

The Wyoming DEQ’s Industrial Siting Division is recommending 14 conditions be required in the permit.

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