To the editor:
George Orwell's classic 1984 has proved a prophetic book about our modern world. Governments and corporations spin the truth so that nothing is as it seems. Orwell's devious dictator, Big Brother, sells war as peace, freedom as slavery and ignorance as strength.
The energy giants that want to exploit South Dakota's clean land, water and air have learned Big Brother's lessons well. We are told repeatedly that the refinery Hyperion hopes to impose on Union County will be "green," or environmentally friendly. This is nothing but PR, "greenwashing" of the reality.
In fact, if the giant refinery gets built, it will put several million pounds of toxic pollution into our air each year, including an estimated 173,000 pounds of cancer-causing substances. They will dump two million gallons of tainted water into the Missouri River every day. Over 4,000 imported construction workers will forever change the rural and small-town lifestyle we enjoy.
The well-crafted plan to turn truth on its head begins with the names polluting corporations choose. In Greek mythology, "Hyperion" is the father of the sun. Hyperion would be a great name for an energy company – if they were capturing clean, renewable energy from wind, sun and bio-mass, instead of polluting, non-renewable energy from low-grade, dirty, sour crude.
Similarly, the oil pipeline that TransCanada wants to bury in South Dakota is named Keystone. In biology, a "keystone" species is the crucial species in an ecosystem, the one without which the ecosystem is in danger of collapse. So tar sands crude oil is the heart of our ecosystem?
It is clear that refining dirty crude in prime agricultural land and destroying physical health and a healthy way of life can't stand up to the light of scrutiny and truth. That's why Trans-Canada and Hyperion want to convince us that night is day, and black is green.
To the editor:
Many of us have been asking for, and patiently waiting for, some specifics of the many ramifications that the Hyperion oil refinery will bring to the residents of Union County. One of their posters at the recent informational meetings boldly proclaimed, "the potential property tax savings on a $100,000 home in Union County is $787 per year." Logically, the potential savings on a $200,000 home will be $1,574, and so on. The Hyperion consultant at the booth agreed.
I went home and did the math. Since a professional assessor recently valued our home at the current market price, I am confident that I have a realistic figure. Then I checked our taxes for 2007. If Hyperion is being honest, Union County will owe us $98 per year.
A call to the courthouse assured us Union County will not be paying us to live here. Therefore, Hyperion's statement is greatly exaggerated and is not honest.
Sadly, I'm not surprised.