Jay Vincent, community outreach and affairs director for Hyperion, noted that the U.S. economy shouldn't solely be powered by petroleum products.
"Solar energy, wind – all of these different types of alternate energy avenues – are something we as a country ought to be looking at seriously and investing in."
Vincent noted that the Hyperion energy center proposed for Union County would have emissions.
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"But I'm proud to say that this would be the cleanest refinery, if it's built here in Union County, in the United States," he said.
The Hyperion refinery will beat other refinery emission levels in the United States "by leaps and bounds," he said.
The refinery's power plant will be designed so that it captures 90 percent of the carbon dioxide it produces, Vincent said. "That is using existing sources of energy and producing electricity in a way that is clean and is environmentally friendly."
Jim Heisinger of Vermillion noted that the methods being currently used by companies in Canada to extract crude oil from sand fields is devastating to the environment there.
Dr. Charles Yelverton of Vermillion also told Vincent he is concerned about the health effects of Hyperion's refinery, particularly from the benzene that will be part of its emissions.
"In some studies, when it reaches a level of one part per billion, it increases the risk of cancer," Yelverton said.
"I think we are facing an issue that may affect our children in the area, and we don't even know what we are getting into.
"We know that benzene can cause acute leukemia, which is the number one cancer in children," he added. "I would hazard to guess that in 30 years, after this is up and running, the cancer rate in young children in Union County will be much higher. I'm very worried about what's going to happen to children."
Vincent said health effects from the proposed refinery would be negligible because the emission levels will be very low.