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DNR nixes Superior pier repairs for Great Lakes oil terminal

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Duluth News Tribune


The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has, at least for now, turned down a permit application to make repairs to a Superior harbor pier that is part of plan for a possible oil terminal.

Superior-based Elkhorn Industries wants to rehabilitate the harborfront pier to make it ready for Calumet Specialty Products to build a tanker-loading facility to fill boats and barges with crude oil to be shipped across the Great Lakes to eastern oil refineries.

The oil would come into Superior from Western states and Canada via pipeline.

Calumet says it has no firm plans to build the terminal and still hasn’t found a partner refinery to take the oil. But the company will continue to pursue customers, Kollin Schade, head of Calumet’s Superior refinery operations, said Thursday.

Elkhorn has been moving ahead with planning pier repairs as Calumet continued negotiations with eastern refineries.

The DNR dismissed the application “without prejudice,” meaning Elkhorn may reapply for the permit under conditions set by the DNR. A Dec. 23 DNR letter says public comments played a role in its decision, noting the agency “will need significantly more information about the plans and activities proposed for the site.”