Developers of a $100 million wax refinery have won approval to build above-ground fuel storage tanks and move the project from a proposed site at Center Street and Redwood Road to a site on Center Street within four blocks of City Hall.
On a 4-1 vote Tuesday, City Council members approved rezoning the new site from M1 to M2 to allow above-ground tanks to be built. The new zone would allow the wax refinery to make gasoline, but developers promised they would not do that and would only make wax from crude oil.Developers asked for the move because the old site is in an area once used by a mineral fertilizer plant and is contaminated by fertilizer products. The new site, they said, is just west of Flying J refinery and their proximity will facilitate cooperation between the two plants.
Officials of Fluor Daniel, the company that will build the wax refinery, said they will get crude oil from the Duchesne area which has a high wax content - from 42 to 45 percent wax - and bring it to North Salt Lake in trucks. The wax will be separated from hydrocarbons in the crude oil and the hydrocarbons, from which gasoline can be made, will be piped to the adjacent Flying J refinery for its use.
Jay A. Jensen, vice president of a Salt Lake chemical company and a member of the North Salt Lake Planning and Zoning Commission, opposed the rezoning and the construction of the wax refinery because, he said, the area is already one of the most polluted in the state "and the last thing this city needs is another refinery."
He said the refinery should not be placed near a populated area. Jensen said two refineries are already located in the city "and it would be irresponsible to put three in the city. Another refinery could make the city uninhabitable."
Fred Moosman, a former city councilman, spoke in favor of the refinery and said the city needs the additional tax base. "As long as the plant complies with EPA guidelines, we should have it. I`d like four or five more cracking plants.
"When the pollution gets so bad we can't breath, they'll (plant officials) do something about it."