Endangering ourselves

To the editor:

For over a hundred years we North Americans have polluted our planet to the extent that our earth is now endangered with climate change. And each of us is partly responsible. During the period when England began sending explorers to what they called the "New World," 17th Century poet John Donne wrote a poem that began, "No man is an island." Donne was correct in saying that everything we do has an impact far beyond our home our community, our state or our nation. When we harm the earth, we endanger ourselves.

The Environmental Defense Fund has declared the process of extracting oil from the tar sands region of Alberta, Canada the most environmentally destructive industry on earth. An oil refinery here in South Dakota that would utilize this tar sands crude would feed upon this environmental destruction, add thousands of tons of CO2 pollution to our air, along with benzene, mercury, carbon monoxide and other chemicals that would have a disastrous impact on the health of people who live in Union and Clay counties, in Sioux City and for hundreds of miles beyond. The most serious negative effects of such a refinery would be felt by children and future generations.

If we allow Hyperion to build their refinery they will be fueling, not decreasing global warming. Our challenge is to decrease our dependence on oil and other fossil fuels period. At this time of climate change, there is no justification for increasing our consumption of oil or even for continuing our use at the present rate. That's what got us into this mess.

There has never been an oil refinery in South Dakota. Let's keep it that way.


Norma C. Wilson

Fairness deserved

To the editor:

I wish to thank the mayor and the four members of the Vermillion City Council who had the strength and integrity to show leadership by tabling the resolution in support of Hyperion Oil. It took courage to break from the Hyperion Oil herd. There are too many unanswered questions, yet, unfortunately, the "leaders" of many other communities have chosen to blindly head down the path to the promised pot of Hyperion Oil gold.

Whether for or against having an oil refinery built in our community, the citizens of Vermillion deserve honesty and fair dealings from their city council. The resolution in support of Hyperion Oil could have been put on the written agenda for the city council meeting at any time during the previous weeks. Instead, it was added to the agenda after the meeting began … added on a night the council knew very well that Hyperion Oil opponents would be at the public hearing in Elk Point.

The citizens of Vermillion also deserve unbiased "news" reporting. Instead, the editor chose to report that the city council did "nothing." Not true. They did something important … they stood up for the rights of their citizenry to have input. The citizens of Vermillion already feel disenfranchised by the process. The last thing they needed was for their own city council to ignore their input.

In his editorial, Mr. Lias compared Vermillion's need to get ready for Hyperion Oil with Noah getting ready for the flood. At least the editor showed his understanding that getting ready for Hyperion Oil will be similar to getting ready for the largest natural disaster that ever hit mankind … because it could very well be the largest environmental disaster to hit this area. That part he got right.

Lynette Melby

Disjointed diatribe

To the editor: RE: Your editorial of March 7, 2008

Surprise! Surprise! You are again happily unhappy with Mayor Dan Christopherson and some members of the city council. Those naughty boys are at it again. But you weren't at the meeting to counsel them. What are you going to do with your barrel of ink when they are no longer in office? Who will be next?

Your rather hysterical, disjointed, diatribe of the happenings during the discussion of the agenda resolution omits several interesting facts. If people are interested in really knowing what took place they can read a clear, concise, factual account written by Michele Linck, staff writer, for the Sioux City Journal dated March 5, page A3. A reporter without a vendetta.

One fact you did not mention was that the controversial resolution was not on the public agenda, but was requested as an agenda addition at the start of the meeting by Alderwoman Mary Edelen. Some of the council members were unaware of the resolution's contents which became evident from their responses when the resolution was passed out to the members by Edelen. After much discussion, a visitor from the podium enlightened the council that some council members were previously made aware of the contents and were prepared to approve the resolution. In other words – a stuffed ballot.

As you point out, (Edelen's years of service in the South Dakota Legislature has taught her a thing or two about parliamentary procedure) and then you follow with (there is nothing secret about it). Then why not inform all council members about the contents of the resolution? Some people may argue that that's a problem with the state Legislature.

I doubt there is anybody in the area who does not know about the proposed Hyperion project, but that's what it is – a project – a project until June 3. There are as many pros and cons opinions as there are people. You may be amazed to learn that some people in Vermillion would not be willing to board your so eloquently described Noah's Ark.

You mention previous city administrations action on similar situations. I remember the last administration where a resolution was passed without public support resulting in a referendum and a vote paid for by the Vermillion taxpayers to defeat the resolution. But we remember what furthers our cause – don't we?

Aw shucks (your words) let's lighten up and look at the bright side of this donnybrook. We can refer to this procedure of submitting a controversial resolution to the city council as the Edelen Earmark.

Van Pierce

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