County Considering Legal Services for Calumet Project Municipal Bond Issuance

Cascade County Commissioners will consider a contract at their March 22 meeting with a third-party law firm to serve as bond advisor for the issuance of tax-exempt municipal bonds for the Calumet Renewable Energy Project .

Montana Renewables LLC asked the county to issue $550 million in tax-exempt municipal bonds.

The project is a renewable diesel plant on the existing Calumet Refinery property.

DEQ Issues Permit for Calumet Renewable Energy Project

The commissioners voted in February to pass a resolution announcing their intention to issue the bonds.

In the resolution, the county says Montana Renewables will use bond proceeds to “fund all or part of the costs of acquiring, constructing, installing, converting, modifying, and repurposing infrastructure and improvements…to create a renewable fuel. a refinery capable of transforming renewable raw materials into sustainable alternatives; a hydraulic expansion of the renewable fuels refinery, including the construction and installation of various pumps, control valves, piping and compressors, a new hydrogen plant and related upgrades; acquisition and installation of equipment in the renewable fuels refinery to facilitate the production of sustainable aviation fuel; and related improvements.

If the Bonds are issued, the County will enter into one or more loan agreements or other financing or credit agreements with Montana Renewables for the repayment of the Bonds, pursuant to the Intent Resolution.

Calumet creates jobs for the conversion to renewable diesel

The contract contemplated at the March 22 meeting is with Dorsey and Whitney, LLP to act as bond attorney on behalf of the county to prepare resolutions, notices, prepare and/or review bond financing and closing documents and provide legal advice.

The fees and costs for Dorsey and Whitney’s services will be paid for by Montana Renewables, according to county documents.

The proposed project would have a production capacity of about 15,000 barrels of biodiesel per day, according to a statement from the Montana Department of Environmental Quality.

Calumet plans transition to renewable diesel operations

The DEQ issued a decision in October 2021 regarding the air quality permit and final environmental assessment for the proposed renewable diesel plant on the existing Calumet Refinery property.

The permit is for Montana Renewables Inc. and the analysis included potential emissions from all equipment that will be operated at the renewable diesel plant to ensure the facility complies with Montana’s Clean Air Act, according to DEQ. .

Marlena Halko, Calumet’s director of human resources, told a housing summit earlier in March that the company currently has around 300 contractors on site for the conversion to the renewable energy project. From July to October, she said they would have 600 to 700 contractors on site.

Demand for new housing is high in the Great Falls area; costs slow development

The proposed project is located on private land. The company estimated construction would begin in the fall of 2021 and the project would be complete by the end of 2022, according to the DEQ app.

In August, Calumet opened 12 full-time positions at the refinery for the project.

“These new positions are tangible signs of growth following an energy transition project underway at the plant which is converting part of the facility to processing renewable raw materials. In the first half of next year, the renewable energy manufacturing company will process the raw material of soybean oil into renewable diesel fuels. This will result in immediate carbon reductions and provide opportunities to engage Montana farmers and ranchers in sourcing the facility’s renewable raw materials,” according to a Calumet statement.

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