more on Hyperion
March 8th, 2008
“Everything you wanted to know about oil but were afraid to ask.”
“Oil for Dummies”
By Doug Maurstad
Hi again folks. Today I feel like changing this article to some other format, like “The oil of our Lives”. Except that the things that are happening like a comedy, not a soap opera.
I was at a township meeting Tuesday night after our county public meeting in Elk Point Monday night. I’m sure everyone is aware of the outcome of that Monday meeting. Chairman Doyle Karpen slipped a fast one in on us there. By him reading the title at the beginning of the meeting, this met the meaning of the law and constituted the 1st reading of the ordinance. Now all that remains is the 2nd reading and they can then vote. Anyway I’m getting away from my story. At the township meeting I was sitting next to our district 5 commissioner Mr. Milt Ustad. I asked him if the lawyer the commission hired for almost $5000, got his report back to him before the meeting. Milt said he didn’t know, because the lawyer is on vacation down in Mexico. I just about fell out of my chair. Now this is county tax dollars at work. Hire a lawyer, and Bang! He’s off to Mexico. This guy was hired to get a report back to the commissioners and he decided to take a vacation. This is just beautiful. I guess he did get the report to the commissioners Sunday night. They didn’t say anything at the meeting on Monday though.
There is a new document that has come to light that everyone should take advantage of to read. John J. Curry (originally from Elk Point) from Pennsylvania commissioned an independent research company to review the Hyperion application to see just how compliant it is with the county ordinances. His findings are extremely interesting and I hope the commissioners take this information as well as the information from the Whalen LLC in Lake Andes and tell Hyperion, “Folks, We’ve got a problem.” You can go to the following website and download this information if you would like to read it. http://www.elkpointgorilla.com/documents/RemingtonReport3-3.3.2008.pdf. it points out interesting shortfalls that everyone has noticed at one time or another but hasn’t said anything about it. I’ll point out just one interesting point.
The article makes mention of the fact that Hyperion says in their application that they will have adequate emergency response teams and security on site to deal with minor situations at the refinery. . Well that’s fine folks, but let’s say there is a tanker truck toodeling down the interstate and it comes to the Hwy 48 interchange and starts to turn off and for whatever reason tips over and catches on fire. Oil tankers coming into the facility are not carrying oil. It is something toxic, but it is not oil. Now emergency response teams from around the area, (Elk Point, Vermillion and Akron) respond to the fire. Wait a minute! The response teams say “We aren’t HAZMAT (Hazardous Material) qualified. We don’t have people qualified for this and don’t have the equipment ors trucks to fight this fire. The nearest HAZMAT teams are in Sioux Falls or Sioux City. Oh, back to the story. The police contact the Hyperion Emergency Response Team. Since this is off the refinery site, will they respond or will they say “Sorry that is out of our jurisdiction.” If there is a Major incident at the refinery are they going to call on the emergency response folks from the surrounding area? To my knowledge one does not just wave a magic wand over the EMT’s and say “You’re now qualified to deal with HAZMAT refinery emergencies.” Not only that, but HAZMAT equipment is very expensive; trucks; contamination holding tanks, exposure suits etc. Who is going to have to pay for this? Is Akron going to have to have people on staff to be prepared 24/7 365 to deal with potential hazards? I mean, Akron is only 10 miles away, and more than likely would be one of the first to respond to a call. Again, who is going to pay for the training? Who is going to buy the equipment? And who is going to be responsible? I wanna meet this guy Who. I think he must have lots of money.
Think about this while you’re at it. Remember when that DC-10 crashed at the airport in Sioux City? Response teams from all over the area responded and kept this airplane crash from becoming a real catastrophe. All these EMT’s worked together and saved the lives of many, many people. Both St. Lukes and Mercy hospitals were taxed to the maximum, and this was for 300 people. What would happen if there were to be a HUMONGUS explosion at the refinery? Are we prepared to handle an accident with thousands of lives at stake? Remember, during the construction phase of this refinery there are going to be up to 10,000 workers, and when is the most dangerous time for accidents to happen? Yep, you guessed it. Construction.
Till next time folks