Biorefinery Asks Local Government for Funding Help

Published online: Feb 08, 2018 News April Baumgarten
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Source: Grand Forks Herald

A company that wants to build a biorefinery north of Grand Forks has asked the county to issue $80 million in bonds on its behalf.

The Grand Forks County Commission approved during a Tuesday meeting a resolution that sets the stage for a public hearing for the Red River BioRefinery bond. The $80 million bond has not been approved, but if the commission does say yes, the county would facilitate selling the bonds for the company. The bonds also would be tax-exempt.

The company has been hesitant to release details on the project. Citing trade secrets, the Commerce Department redacted certain information from a June 2016 application, which did not include information about the proposed site and size. The application also said the company was "shooting for the 2017 sugar beet campaign," according to Herald archives.

Jacek Chmielewski, a principal owner with BioMass, told the Herald on Wednesday the company is still working out the details of the project and declined to disclose the estimated cost or timeframe of completion for the biorefinery.

In September, the Grand Forks City Council approved a five-year declining tax exemption in the amount of $456,600. The bond, if issued, would go toward financing the project.

The county is not liable for the bond, Lund said, adding the bond would not result in a tax increase for residents.

The county must give a two-week notice for a public hearing before it votes on the bond.