Dirty Crude. Dirty Pool?


Anti-Hyperion activists came out in force this afternoon and evening for the Hyperion air quality permit public comment period with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Board of Minerals and Environment.*

Despite the better than three to one testimony against granting of the air quality permit–especially without an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)–the general feeling was that the decision is already made–the permit’s in the bag for Hyperion.

Why?  Well, as political appointees of the pro-Hyperion regime in the state government (I’m lookin’ at YOU, M. Mike Rounds), the BM&E seems likely to be in favor of pushing the thing through even in the face of all the public outcry against it.

After all, they’ve already let Hyperion skirt the EIS, which is incredibly obviously called for in this situation if in NO other.  As one testifier commented, if an Environmental Impact Statement isn’t required for a ten BILLION dollar oil refinery and accompanying coal-fired power plant, then what exactly would it be required for?

And then there’s the matter of dinner: one woman testified that she witnessed the BM&E having dinner at Whimp’s in Burbank TONIGHT–on the night of the public comment–with Hyperion officials!  The BM&E did not deny the charge–the chair simply stated that, “it’s a good place to eat.”

Well, as an occasional Whimp’s diner myself, I can certainly attest that it’s a decent place to eat.  In fact it’s the very first place my dad and I ate in the Vermillion area when I was considering my move here back in 1993–recommended by my USD admissions counselor.

But is it a decent and appropriate maneuver for the supposedly neutral government body in charge of granting or denying the permit–the body in charge of protecting South Dakota citizens and the environment in which they live–to be dining with the party whose permit is in question?

I would like to hear the BM&E either deny the charge or own up to it and explain how exactly they expect to be perceived as neutral if they did, in fact, sup with Hyperion.

Let’s hear it BM&E.  Don’t worry about posting your comments here, though.  I’ll be sure to ask you about it tomorrow.

*The public comment period continues starting at 9 a.m. tomorrow (Thursday, April 16) at the Elk Point-Jefferson High School gym.

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5 responses to this post.

  1. I’m hoping to get there before work today!
    In the meantime, here’s a blog post that you might be interested in (doesn’t have anything to do with Hyperion).

  2. Posted by JB on April 16, 2009 at 11:06 am

    Unbelievable! The audacity of Hyperion and Board of Minerals. I hope that local media picks up on this story. This is another reason why there needs to be an Environmental Impact Statement. A comprehensive assessment from the an unbiased source needs to happen. The state has proven that they are not capable of “assessing” the risks in a “objective” manner.

  3. Posted by Claire on April 16, 2009 at 2:33 pm

    Wow. That’s pretty shady! I’m actually in favor of having the plant. Well, I guess I should say I *was* in favor of the plant. I believe the technology is there to have cleaner processing of fossil fuels nowdays, as compared to the plants built 30+ years ago in Texas. I figured it’s not going to have those types of problems because we’re all advanced and stuff now 🙂

    However, the BM&E having buddy-ish relationships with Hyperion folks over dinner makes this look a little dirty. Of course the fact that Hyperion doesn’t want an EIS really speaks for itself. One would think if this plant is going to be as clean as Hyperion keeps claiming then one could assume they’d welcome the EIS, if for no other reason than to get some fence-sitters on their side and prevent lawsuits. So, I guess I’d support a CLEAN, efficient plant, but not a plant that isn’t able to make it through the EIS. If I wanted to live in chemical land, I would have moved to Texas instead of South Dakota. I totally support bringing more jobs and money to the state, but not at the expense of the quality of life here.

    Has anyone considered suing to force an EIS? As someone else pointed out, if a project like this doesn’t require an EIS, then what does??? I think the citizenry here has the right to petition the Federal gov’t to force SD to do the EIS.

  4. Posted by diamond cutter on April 16, 2009 at 4:24 pm

    the BM&E must not be too concerned, when we broke for lunch today,i saw Hyperion and the BM&E going into Los Amigos in Elk Point. they didn’t seem too worried about appearance, ethics or an;ything else.i guess the old saying “if you’ve got it flaunt it!” still applies..

  5. Posted by dmu on April 16, 2009 at 10:05 pm

    Again there needs to be an independent 3rd party EIS done. What kind of precedent is the state setting if they don’t require one? How stupid do they think the people of this area are? Do a search on the EPA’s website and you will find completed EIS and ones in the works for TONS of projects all across the US, many of which are smaller in scope and scale than the proposed Hyperion refinery.

    This is the biggest con job that the state is trying to pull on the ciitizens of this area by saying one is not required!

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