Sunday, September 28, 2008

one plus one = ?

September 24th, 2008
One plus One =?
I think I should be in charge of rumor central for this project. I get bits and bobs from people all over and when I start putting this information together, funny stuff starts making sense. This week all started when I was talking to a reputable source, who mentioned that they have a friend who heard that when it comes time for Hyperion to file its water permit, they might have a big problem. It seems that the water level in the Missouri river where Hyperion plans on putting the plant to extract the water for the refinery is too shallow to accommodate the water plant and that this area of the river is controlled by the Army Corps of Engineers rather than the state and since this is a federal waterway, Hyperion might be stepping into deep DOO-DOO when it comes to getting a water permit.
I thought it was really interesting that this should crop up just now because I also heard this week that Hyperion had been talking to Mid-America Utilities about them building a power plant somewhere between Akron and Sioux City and running transmission lines to the refinery site . Then Hyperion would buy the electricity from them that way Hyperion would not have to build their own power plant. Mid-America was not receptive to this idea because they are a Public Utility and would require the board of directors to approve such a measure and it would be very risky for them to enter into a venture as big as this when Hyperion might not in fact be able to build a refinery. What would happen if they build the power plant and Hyperion decides for whatever reason they are not going to build here? Mid America is left holding the bag. “And a fine one it is too.” This would only make sense if Hyperion wasn’t able to build its IGCC facility.
Let’s add one more piece to the puzzle. The regional director of the National Park Service met with Hyperion last week at Ponca State Park. For what reason we can only guess. It seems that the place where Hyperion wants to build the water facility is directly across the river from Ponca State Park and the Park Service might have jurisdiction over this area. H-m-m-m-m what is going on here? I got an explanation that the regional director is new to the area and wanted to be brought up to speed on the project. What a bunch of bunk. The regional director just moved to Yankton because the regional office was moved from O’Neill Nebraska. It’s still the same guy and He still has the same area to cover; only now he covers it from Yankton. Oh by the way, I heard that the Army Corps of Engineers was present at the meeting. H-m-m-m is there something going on here that we aren’t supposed to know about? The Army Corps of Engineers, National Park Service, and Hyperion. H-m-m-m..
This week at the County Commissioners meeting a really strange thing happened. During the States Attorneys time on the agenda, rather than talk about legal issues, he brought in Mr. Jeff Loof and Mr. Kevin Beermann from the soil conservation to talk about Swamp busters and Tiling wetlands. Mr. Loof went into great detail explaining the types of wetlands and about tiling a temporary wetland, I’m not an expert on this, so it went way over my head. But there are a couple of questions. Why were these guys brought in to speak with the commissioners by the States Attorney? Why weren’t they brought in by the commissioners and given time on the agenda to speak about this issue? The states attorney normally restricts his comments and time to legal matters. Granted, the end result is to create a county ordinance whereby permits will be required to be given for messing with wetlands, but for the States Attorney to be sponsoring this doesn’t seem to fit the picture. Is there a hidden agenda here?
He did make one statement that put this into perspective though and I’d like to quote him. “If this study can be done to determine approximately how much water we are talking about during an event because that is what I think our main concern or the county’s main concern is going to be is if we have a 2-inch rain, that how many acre feet of water are we talking about that’s going to be dumped into the Township right-of-way and now does that Township Right-of-way need a bigger culvert to handle it? It may be able to handle one tract of land or two tracts of land, but if we’ve got 10 tracts of land hitting this culvert, are we talking about a potential of a flood or washout because that culvert can’t handle it and then the same thing as that eventually hits the county culverts and the county bridges. So is there a way, let’s say we did a permit process and part of our permit process was to ask for that math to be done, could we do that and if we did do that, would you cooperate and provided us with that so our engineers, our highway superintendent, can start plugging those numbers in and figure that out or is that not possible. Mr. Loof replied “that the rule of thumb and our policy is that we don’t do that for wetland determination because it is not required in the wetland determination process and when somebody comes in and asks us to run that, we say no, you have to go to a private engineer.” Since when has the county ever given a rip about the drainage of a wetland? Or of a temporary flooding of cropland? How many times a year does the drainage board meet? Come on!
Would 3200 acres of concrete and asphalt create this problem? Say from a company like Hyperion Energy Center? Oh by the way, wetlands fall under the jurisdiction of the Army Corps of Engineers. Ain’t this sumthin? Naw they wouldn’t be thinking that far in advance would they? DUH!
One more item to consider. Retired State Supreme court justice Judge Miller who is the presiding judge on the Eminent Domain issue for the DM&E railroad said on September 19th, that he doesn't intend to "fully or blindly comply with or enforce the 90-day limitation" because he considers it unconstitutional. Whoa, should we be paying attention to this?


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