1st of a series on Hyperion Resources and oil
March 1st, 2008
“Everything you wanted to know about oil but were afraid to ask.”
“Oil for Dummies”
By Doug Maurstad
I am going to be writing a series of articles about oil. I will be writing about where the oil is coming from, how it is going to get here and what happens in the refining process. I will also try to keep everyone current on current happenings with the county, state and Hyperion. I am not an expert in this area but I am pretty well informed. I don’t think I’ve missed a meeting since this started over a year ago. These will be biased articles by the way. I am against the proposed refinery to be built by Hyperion Resources in Union County, SD. I think what they are doing is not good for the country and most of all is not good for the people that will be most affected by this refinery; the people surrounding this area. I will try to be objective about this however. It may be a bit cynical, but it will be objective.
I will be more than happy to answer any questions you might have about this subject. Just write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please don’t be anonymous in your emails, because I won’t read them and besides you won’t get an answer to your questions. This won’t be an avenue to vent your frustrations against me or anyone else or anything. These articles will be to inform you and pass on to you my knowledge and feelings about this subject, and hopefully answer your questions. These articles will cover current happenings both here and around the world that will either directly or indirectly affect the refinery process in Union County. There are many things happening around the world that tie into this process.
That said; let me start by relating what happened at the Union County Commissioners meeting on February 25th, 2008. After their normal business that was conducted in the morning, the commission adjourned until 1 p.m. then reconvened in the basement of the court house with presentations from South Dakota DENR and the South Dakota department of Tourism and Transportation. I am going to focus on the presentation with Tourism and Transportation, because what they presented was completely astounding. It was a five page document called Road Improvement and Maintenance Agreement. This is an agreement between the state of South Dakota and Union County about who is responsible for what concerning 3 roads in the construction site area. 315th st, 473rd ave, and 475th ave. rather than printing the whole article, let me just point out some things people should be concerned about. First of all, 315th street is a township road under the jurisdiction of both Brule and Spink townships, not the county. This is the dividing road for the boarders of Brule and Spink townships. The state says in their agreement that the County and State have determined that a method of achieving the maintenance and improvement of this is necessary to accomplish the uninterrupted flow of commerce. Great! EXCEPT – they forgot to consult with the townships concerned before they decided this. Yet, the township is the one that is responsible for maintenance and upkeep of this road after the project is 50% completed. The state is not responsible for any snow removal, grading or upkeep on this road. They deferred that responsibility to the township. This means that the township must provide at their expense, maintenance equipment and personnel 365 days a year 24/7 in the event this needs to be taken care of.
Secretary of Tourism and Transportation, Mr. Benda said the state will provide funds to the county to build this road. What he did not say but what is in the agreement is that the county MUST repay these funds back to the state entirely in three consecutive yearly payments of 33 1/3%. This money is not budgeted by the county, so where is the money coming from. Just as an example, it is not unrealistic to say that cost of construction alone is $1 million per mile. That means that the county must make 3 consecutive yearly payments of $330,000.00. and just where is this money coming from?
Another item in this agreement is that if construction activity at the Energy Complex site ceases for reasons unrelated to weather conditions and subsequent roadway traffic is no more than 110% of pre construction levels, the State shall be relived of responsibility for improvement and maintenance of the Local Roads. So if Hyperion ceases construction to wait on equipment or whatever, this could all revert back to the county and townships.
My dad always told me “Son, you never get something for nothing.” How right he was. Everyone in this area presumed that the monies from the state would be in the form of grants etc., not a loan. My question is if Hyperion needs access, let them build the roads. But then, they are going to say this is under the jurisdiction of the county. Not their responsibility.
While you digest these facts, my article next week will be about the “tar sands” of Canada. If you would like to Google this, look under Tar Sands, Oil sands, Boreal Forests of Canada, Athabasca tar sands, or anything that you can think of that would be closely related to this. Don’t worry; there will be plenty of links to follow. I will list many websites for you to click on and read.
One parting thought. Hyperion says they are doing this to reduce our dependence on Foreign Oil. The last time I looked, Canada was and is a foreign country. We are however, importing that country to the United States one shovelful at a time.
Till next time,