Educate yourself

To the editor:

Like most things in life, the proposed Hyperion oil refinery in Union County has both positive and negative consequences for the residents of South Dakota, Iowa, and Nebraska. Unfortunately the press has been reporting mostly the positive aspects. Not reported is the danger to our clean air, water, and land.

Hyperion says it will "meet or exceed applicable environmental laws and regulations." With this statement, it is promising to do the very least that the EPA requires of oil refineries. (States may add requirements above and beyond the EPA, but South Dakota has added none.) If Hyperion really wanted to be the environmentally responsible corporation it claims to be, it would promise to meet or exceed the requirements of states like Minnesota and California, which have the highest requirements for oil refineries.

The Clean Air Act requires the EPA to use the latest scientific evidence to set limits that protect human health, but the EPA doesn't always use that evidence. For example, ozone (smog) forms when nitrogen oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) mix together and are baked by sunlight. Both NOx and VOCs will be emitted by the Hyperion refinery.

Research shows increased hospitalization of newborns and the elderly and decreased lung function even for healthy young adults at levels well below 60 parts per billion (ppb). As a result, the American Lung Association is asking that the ozone standard be changed to 60 ppb from the current EPA standard of 80 parts per billion.

Before you make a decision about the oil refinery, educate yourself about the damage that an oil refinery will do to our clear air, water, and land. Then decide whether that damage is worth the jobs.

Vikki Fix


Jobs not worth cost

To the editor:

It is somewhat disconcerting to note the rather extreme apparent public interest in the $20-30 per hour jobs being promised by Hyperion Resources for the proposed Gorilla project in Union County. While we agree that someone presently working for minimum wage would look at the potentially higher hourly wage as desirable, it may not be all that it appears.

First, since Hyperion has not especially been forthcoming with details on the likely jobs for either the construction or operation conditions, we have no idea if any such jobs will really be available for local workers. If there are really such positions and they are numerous, how will that really affect the other businesses in the area who rely on similar staff?

If they are able to pass the increase in their operating costs on to their customers, where does that stop, since you know there are many people who will only be paying more for the same goods and services and will not have increased income or values to offset such increases?

We are blessed with some of the most productive agricultural ground in the world, and we could and should be continuing to produce renewable fuels and food for the nation and the world.

In the end, it is likely that the basic question to Union County residents is whether the jobs are worth the social, economic, and environmental costs, as well as the change to our present "quality of life," which will definitely suffer. We think not.

Arden Hansen

Elk Point

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