Clearing the Air? Hyperion files air permit; critics ramp up zoning fight

Clearing the Air? Hyperion files air permit; critics ramp up zoning fight
Hyperion Resources, Inc. latest filing with the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources includes a long list of both regulated and unregulated air pollutants that will be produced by the corporation's proposed oil refinery in Union County.

Meanwhile, Save Union County is ramping up its efforts to challenge Hyperion's recent re-zoning application (see related story).

Hyperion filed the 613-page application air permit application with the state DENR on Dec. 20, and immediately posted the application on its Web site ( "We think it's important that the public be able to review our application," Project Executive Corky Frank said in a prepared statement. He also noted the application will be thoroughly examined by experts at DENR, and that in South Dakota the application will undergo a public hearing and public comment period.

"We look forward to that scrutiny," Frank said. "It will ensure the public interest in air quality is truly protected and respected."

Ed Cable of Elk Point, a member of Save Union County, found little reassurance from Hyperion officials as they explained during a public forum in Elk Point Dec. 12 that omissions from their proposed energy center would be only a fraction of what is currently emitted from the George Neal power plant in Port Neal, IA, or the Big Stone Power Plant near Milbank.

"There are probably two or three things that rank at the top of my concerns," Cable said. "One is the risk to human health in the area. We don't know what we don't know. They know what they are likely to do, and they are not sharing it with us. That makes us very concerned."

Cable said the Hyperion proposal poses a significant risk to the environment.

"There are all sorts of ways that environmental impact statements should be required by this project," Cable said. "They're refusing to do it, or at least they aren't sharing that they have one in progress. That should be done before any action by any unit of local government, or before any permit is applied for."

Cable said the cost of the project to both the quality of life and the infrastructure in the region are "simply much greater than the possible

Turn to permit on Page 10

reward that this project could be to Union County."

Hyperion Resources' application also includes a state-of-the-art power plant, which along with the refinery, constitutes the cornerstone of the Hyperion Energy Center.

"Protecting air quality is paramount, and the air permit is one of several important permits we must receive before we can begin construction on the Hyperion Energy Center," Frank said. "This is a major milestone for this project."

The Hyperion Energy Center is proposed to be located near Elk Point in Union County. This location is one of the sites in the Midwest still under consideration for the energy center.

According to Hyperion, the energy center enjoys broad support in Union County and the region, and several local jurisdictions and organizations have already endorsed the project.

"We are encouraged by the strong, positive community response we have received," Frank said. "People in the area are eager for a project that brings jobs with family friendly wages, stabilizes and increases the tax base, and does so in an environmentally sound manner."

Hyperion is currently in the site-selection phase to determine the best location for Hyperion Energy Center. The center will include a 400,000

barrels-per-day refinery producing ultra-low sulfur gasoline and diesel, as well as an integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) power plant. Hyperion states that all facilities associated with the energy center will incorporate advanced commercially feasible emission control technologies and adhere to green principles.

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