Hyperion foe will seek court ruling By David Lias
Plain Talk A large staff of partners doesnâ�?�?t surround the attorney for Ed Cable of rural Elk Point as he researches law books in preparation for an appeal to the South Dakota Supreme Court. James Abourezk of Sioux Falls, in fact, doesnâ�?�?t even have a receptionist. When the Plain Talk called his office Tuesday, Abourezk himself answered the phone. â�?�?I donâ�?�?t have a large staff,â�? he admits. â�?�?I have a young attorney who is helping me with research, and thatâ�?�?s about it.â�? The legal case that Abourezk is currently building may likely determine the future of the Hyperion Refinery Project in Union County. Circuit Court Judge Steven Jensen ruled last month that Cable had no standing to challenge the Union County Commissionâ�?�?s approval of the results of a public referendum affirming the countyâ�?�?s zoning for the refinery because he failed to show that he would be more affected by the refinery than the general public. Hyperion Refining, based in Texas, is proposing to build a $10 billion, 400,000 gallon-per-day refinery and energy center about three miles from Cableâ�?�?s home. Cable claimed refinery emissions and the dust that would be created by the increased truck traffic past his home would worsen his asthma. Jensen ruled, however, that Cable failed to present any expert witnesses to confirm the potential health effect of the emissions, and presented no evidence that more trucks would be passing his home and did not show he would suffer greater effects than the general population. The judgeâ�?�?s decision means Cable is now free to take his case against the Union County Commission to the South Dakota Supreme Court. â�?�?Iâ�?�?ve got the brief close to ready; I could file it any time,â�? Abourezk said, â�?�?but Iâ�?�?m going to take my time with it, I think.â�? Cableâ�?�?s attorney said he will have 45 days after he receives documents from the court to file his case. Abourezk believes the Hyperion refinery will never become a reality in Union County. â�?�?The reasons why are they donâ�?�?t have the money, they donâ�?�?t have the $10 billion for the refinery or the $5 billion to $7 billion for the pipeline,â�? he said. â�?�?They are not going to be able to borrow it in this economic climate.â�? Abourezk believes that if Hyperion CEO Albert Huddleston purchases the rezoned land in Union County, â�?�?heâ�?�?ll probably start putting garbage dumps in there because thatâ�?�?s the only business heâ�?�?s ever been in.â�? Jason Quam, an Elk Point native and president of a privately funded opposition group, Citizens Opposed to Oil Production, made a similar claim last summer. Abourezk said Cable will be â�?�?personally aggrievedâ�? if the refinery is built near his residence. â�?�?Ed Cable lives nearby, heâ�?�?s got asthma, the traffic is going to increase and because of the truck traffic and the construction,â�? he said, â�?�?and the pollution will increase if they build the refinery. â�?�?His whole idea of living out in the country will be destroyed,â�? Abourezk said. The Sioux Falls attorney said he will be filing â�?�?an appeal of rightâ�? meaning the South Dakota Supreme Court must hear the case. â�?�?I think we have a very good chance of winning it.â�? After Abourezk files in case during the required 45 days, the countyâ�?�?s attorney has a similar amount of time to file a response. Cable and Abourezk will then have 15 days to�? respond to the countyâ�?�?s case. â�?�?Then the court will take it, and it usually takes them three or four months to research it,â�? he said. We have no idea when the high court will hear the case, Abourezk said. Cable is the last of initial plaintiffs in the case which was initially filed in March. Jensen dismissed Cableâ�?�?s group, Save Union County, saying it lacked standing because it owned no land in the county, and he ruled several individuals could not be a party to the lawsuit because they waited too long to sign on as plaintiffs.
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