To the editor:
I was disappointed – though not too surprised – that the Vermillion Chamber of Commerce and Development Committee has endorsed the oil refinery Hyperion wants to build eight miles east of our city. Perhaps when Hyperion claimed their refinery would be "green," some business people thought they were talking about dollars. But surely there are higher values than money, like the quality of life we enjoy.
One of the VCDC's assertions is that the Hyperion refinery will "enhance America's petroleum independence by processing North American crude oil here in North America" – as if the low-grade crude from Canadian tar sands somehow belongs to us.
Meanwhile Hyperion executive Albert Huddleston was in Russia raising money to tap the Iraqi oil that nearly 4,000 Americans and 100,000 Iraqis have died for. Maybe that explains why Huddleston gave so much money to elect George Bush, including $100,000 to the so-called "Swiftboat Veterans for Truth," whose lies about Sen. John Kerry's honorable military service helped swing the last election.
The VCDC's resolution appears to have been written by Hyperion itself; the language echoes the slick brochure that the Texas corporation has been circulating in our community. The refinery should be built, Chamber leaders say, because it will be "operated in a manner that meets or exceeds all applicable regulatory and environmental rules." Big deal. They are, of course, obliged to obey the law. All 140 refineries operating in the United States must follow the same lax rules; yet they all pollute water, soil and air, and all produce enormous quantities of carbon dioxide, the predominant greenhouse gas.
What neither the corporation nor local business promoters will tell us is that there is no such thing as a "green refinery"; following the law will allow Hyperion to emit over a million pounds of sulfur, carcinogens, toxins, heavy metals, volatile organic compounds and other substances harmful to our health each year. Hyperion hasn't explained what they will do with the millions of gallons of tainted Missouri aquifer water they will use and discharge each day, nor where the dozens of chemicals and substances they extract as byproducts and waste from crude oil will go.
Anyway, if their goal was to build the most environment-friendly refinery possible, they'd begin with the best crude available, not the dirtiest.
The propaganda from Hyperion and the VCDC raises more questions than it answers, but apparently certain community leaders, blinded by dollar signs, have chosen to ignore those questions. I only wish that in the headline of their brochure Hyperion was referring to wind energy, solar energy and conservation. If they were, I would fully agree with their statement: "We can, and should do better."
Hyperion not needed
To the editor:
I am joining my voice with Norma Wilson's in opposition to Hyperion (letter Nov. 2, Vermillion Plain Talk).
I agree with all she writes and wish to add this: In a letter to The New York Times, Aug. 4, the president and chief executive of the American Petroleum Institute, Red Cavaney, writes this:
"Over the last decade, we have added the equivalent of a new 200,000-barrel-a-day refinery each year. The Department of Energy expects this trend to continue, with an additional 1 million barrels per day coming on line at existing refineries by 2011."
Fellow citizens, Hyperion's refinery is not only the wrong economic development in this agricultural state, it is not needed.