State receives 3,000 comments on Hyperion Energy air permit The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has completed its review and response to nearly 3,000 people and organizations who submitted comments on a draft Prevention of Significant Deterioration preconstruction air quality permit for the proposed Hyperion Energy Center in Union County has been completed. Where appropriate, DENR incorporated suggested changes into the draft air quality permit. "The department would like to thank all of those who took the time to provide comments during the public notice period for this permit," said DENR Secretary Steve Pirner. "The large number of comments provided has helped DENR ensure our review of this application for an air quality permit is accurate and complete." To provide people an opportunity to read through DENR's review of the comments, it has released a 100 plus page document that summarizes the comments and DENR's response. A copy of the document, the revised air quality permit, state rules for contesting the permit, and a copy of the Board of Minerals and Environment notice of contested case hearing has been mailed to all those who opposed the permit. All those who supported the permit will receive a letter from DENR thanking them for commenting, and that they can receive a copy of all these materials by calling DENR at 605-773-3151 or view them on DENR's Web site at http://www.state.sd.us/ denr/hyperionaq.htm. A third option is to stop in at one of the following two DENR addresses during normal business hours to go through a hard copy of the documents: DENR's Geological Survey Program, Akeley-Lawrence Science Center, University of South Dakota, 414 East Clark, Vermillion; or the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Division of Environmental Services, 523 East Capitol, Joe Foss Building, Pierre, SD 57501. All those commenting on the draft permit now have 30 days from receipt of DENR's letter to decide if they want to file petitions to become a party to the formal contested case hearing that will be heard before the Board of Minerals and Environment. For those who do not wish to petition to become a party to the formal contested case hearing, the board is planning to hold a public meeting in the local area prior to the contested case hearing where people can attend to provide verbal comments to the board without filing any petitions. The proposed Hyperion Energy Center will include a 400,000 barrel per day refinery and an integrated gasification combined cycle power plant. An extended public comment period for the DENR draft Prevention of Significant Deterioration pre-construction air quality permit concluded in mid-November. Due to the complex nature of the air quality permit and at the request of several individuals, groups, or other interested parties, DENR extended the initial 30-day comment period by 31 days to allow the public more time to review information in the draft permit. The purpose of a Prevention of Significant Deterioration Air Quality pre-construction air quality permit is to ensure that emissions from the proposed facility will not degrade the air quality beyond increments allowed by state and federal air quality regulations. The permit also ensures the air quality will continue to fully comply with all National Ambient Air Quality Standards that have been established to protect public health and the environment.