Letters: Hyperion permit is weak and misleading

When the Hyperion refinery was first announced in June 2007, South Dakota Governor Rounds pointed to Hyperion�s plan to capture and sequester carbon dioxide as evidence that �this is not your grandfather�s oil refinery . . .This is a major technological breakthrough that will set an example for all future energy development centers.� 

Now that the state has finalized yet another version of Hyperion�s air permit, what remains of the original carbon capture plan, the so-called major �breakthough?� If you guessed that it is now completely absent from the permit, you�re right.  The new permit allows Hyperion to build its refinery without carbon-capture provisions. 

What�s more, the new permit allows Hyperion to operate without any limits on pollution emissions during accidents and malfunctions.  That�s right!  There are no limits. None.  Hyperion would never tell anyone this, but malfunctions happen more often at refineries than the refinery industry cares to admit.  Louisiana refineries, operated by experienced companies, reported hundreds of malfunctions between 2000 and 2010, and these malfunctions dumped more than 22 million pounds of pollution into the air. 

Malfunctions are a fact of life at complex, dangerous refineries. Many citizens believed Hyperion and our government officials who promised us a �green� refinery.  But now we know the truth.  If Hyperion gets built, it will dangerously pollute our air.

When it comes to cheerleading Hyperion, South Dakota officials get an A+.  When it comes to protecting its citizens, South Dakota officials deserve a failing mark.  Hopefully, the refinery won�t ever get built, since its promoters lack experience, expertise and ethics.

Norma C. Wilson
Vermillion

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