Regarding Flint Hills Resources Pine Bend

A recent letter to the editor about the Flint Hills Resources Pine Bend refinery in Rosemount greatly mischaracterized the refinery’s environmental record. The writer cites an annual report of emissions from United States manufacturing facilities as evidence of industry’s disregard for the environment, and for some reason singles out Pine Bend.

The truth is that Pine Bend is among the cleanest refineries operating in the United States. Over the last 15 years, the refinery has reduced emissions of traditional criteria pollutants by more than 60 percent while expanding production to meet demand. Today, emissions per barrel are more than 40 percent lower than the industry average.

Each day, the refinery’s wastewater treatment plant successfully processes more than 3.5 million gallons of water, typically discharging at levels well below permitted limits and with no exceedances. In 2014, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency honored Pine Bend as an outstanding wastewater treatment operator.

Our employees — including many who are proud graduates of the University of Minnesota’s engineering program — deserve the credit. They work hard every day to minimize the emissions associated with manufacturing the fuels on which Minnesotans rely.

This commitment to the environment extends well beyond our fence. Since 2000, Pine Bend has partnered with Friends of the Mississippi River to restore 1,650 acres of natural prairie that serves a migratory flyway for 40 percent of North America’s waterfowl and shorebirds.

A 30-year partnership with Ducks Unlimited has led to the restoration of numerous lakes and marshes and the permanent protection of miles of sensitive shoreline. A nearly 15-year collaboration with Environmental Initiative has meant cleaner air for all Minnesotans.

All of us value clean air and clean water, and we all want to protect the environment for future generations. People who own and operate manufacturing facilities — including refineries — are no different.