Last Plaintiff Standing Cable will challenge refinery zoning change By David Lias
Plain Talk Union County resident Ed Cable, an outspoken critic of Hyperion Refining and its plans to construct a $10 billion oil refinery north of Elk Point, has been given the go ahead to take the Union County Commission to court. Circuit Judge Steven Jensen ruled Thursday, July 24, that Cableâ�?�?s lawsuit could proceed. Save Union Countyâ�?�?s attempt to also be part of this lawsuit, however, was unsuccessful. Cable and Save Union County LLC, filed the suit March 20, appealing the commissionersâ�?�? March 11 decision to grant special zoning for Hyperion Refiningâ�?�?s proposed oil refinery. Cable was the only plaintiff remaining after Jensen ruled Thursday that four individuals â�?�? Jason Quam, Dale Harkness, Arden Hanson and Burdette Hanson â�?�? had joined in Cableâ�?�?s lawsuit too late. Their names were added in a May 2 filing, failing to meet the requirement to file within 20 days of the commissionersâ�?�? decision being published. In addition, Jensen ruled that Save Union County had no standing because it owns no property in the county. Cable, who lives in a home approximately three miles from the property rezoned by the county for Hyperion, alleges he is personally aggrieved by the decision of the county to allow the rezoning for the purpose of constructing an oil refinery and that the impact upon him will be greater than on other residents of the county living farther away from the site. Cable has vowed, in earlier news reports, that he and Save Union County will fight every step toward building the refinery, even though Union County voters overwhelmingly approved the zoning change June 3. The rezoning passed 58 percent to 42 percent in a referendum election. Jensen cited a South Dakota law in his ruling, which â�?�?provides for an appeal from decisions of the board of county commissioners only to such persons who suffer personal or individual grievances, as distinguished from those grievances suffered by taxpayers or the public generally.â�? In his correspondence to the attorneys involved in this court action, Jensen writes, â�?�?Cable does allege facts and claims suggesting he will be personally impacted by the construction and operation of the proposed refinery in the form of air and water pollution; the presence of thousands of workers and increased heavy traffic in and around the refinery site.â�? Cable still has the burden to prove his alleged claims at a future court hearing that likely will include testimony from James Abourezk, Cableâ�?�?s attorney, and Union County States Attorney Jerry Miller.