Rounds looking forward to the Hyperion project

Rounds looking forward to the Hyperion project
Gov. Mike Rounds said he is looking forward to seeing the progress of the proposed $10 billion oil refinery near Elk Point.

"I see it as a very positive thing for South Dakota," Rounds said.

The governor discussed this and several other issues Friday afternoon with a local delegation of residents and employees at Yankton Day at the state legislature in Pierre.

Rounds said Hyperion has just submitted its first permit for the project, which he said was more than 600 pages long. He said a number of other permits have to be submitted, but ultimately, the issue is a local one.

"Hopefully, the county commission puts it to a vote so the folks out there can vote on whether they want this industrial development to occur," he said.

Rounds said that the state's environmental laws and regulations will help to ensure that the project, if it does come to fruition, will be kept up to standard. He said Hyperion is willing to accept that.

"They're just saying they want to meet or exceed standards, and I like that," he said. "So we're going to do our best to work with them. But at the same time, we're not going to cut any corners, and they're not asking us to cut any corners."

Steve Pirner, secretary of the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources, agreed that the laws would help to keep the project

environmentally sound, although one bill, SB196, could have changed that.

Pirner said SB196 began as a one-sentence bill that stated South Dakota would have adequate rules concerning water and air. A 21-page amendment was later added that would have made those rules permit


"If you put those into the law, our argument was then that it doesn't give us any opportunity – if there's any more stringent things we can put on that facility – we can't because it's in law," Pirner said.

Rounds said the finished project would be beneficial to the state if it


"I think it'll bring significant economic development to the area," he

said. "Right now, we need more petroleum product available to us. … Hyperion could produce enough petroleum product – diesel and unleaded fuel – to, in essence, be able to supply all Nebraska, South Dakota and Iowa's needs. So it'll be a significant improvement to supplies in the

Midwest, and hopefully it'll somewhat stabilize the prices of them, as


Rounds said this economic development would be welcome in another

respect, as well. He will be delivering the state economic report to legislators this week and "the numbers are not good," he said.

He said retail is not as high as expected. Additionally, more than 30,000 jobs have been created in the past four years, but 1,600 jobs were lost over the past seven months, he said.

"That's not a good sign," Rounds said. "It says things are going to slow down a little bit, and we need to prepare for that."

However, Rounds did say more jobs are being created through the state's burgeoning wind power industry. He said 750 new jobs have been created in Aberdeen, where turbine blades are being constructed.

"I think we could be the epicenter for the development of wind energy

in the future," he said.

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