Plans to build an oil refinery in Maricopa County were scrapped Thursday amid questions about its impact on the fast-growing region’s environment.
Arizona Clean Fuels now will build the facility in Yuma County, which offers vast tracts of desert far from inhabited areas.
“We couldn’t be more pleased,” said Scott Meyer, vice president of the environmental group Don’t Waste Arizona. “We’re real happy to see it’s going to Yuma.”
“It’s probably the best move we could have made,” company spokesman Ian Calkins said.
And Steve Owens, director of the State Department of Environmental Quality, said, “Going to Yuma makes a lot of sense.”
The project has been on the drawing board for years but made headlines in August as the Valley dealt with a crippling gasoline shortage after an aging pipeline ruptured near Tucson.
It would convert crude oil — delivered via pipeline from Mexico — into 7 million gallons of refined fuel a day, a bit more than half the state’s current demand of 13 million gallons a day. Total cost of the project, including pipelines, Mexican port facilities and the refinery itself, is estimated at $2.5 billion.