Friday, October 24, 2008

A long way to go and a short time to get there

October 21st, 2008
“We’ve got a long way to go, and a short time to get there.”
“I’ve got a long way to go and a short time to get there” was a Jerry Reed song from the movie “Smokey and the Bandit.”I can’t help but think of this song every time I see something in the paper that tells me that Hyperion is getting closer and closer to getting its permit to build a refinery. The way things are going economically I think it is going to be hard for Hyperion to get financing and that is going to hold them up for a long time. Time is one thing they don’t have. Unless they are totally stupid, they have to have things underway before the options run out or the price of land will go through the roof.
People ask me all the time why I am so strongly opposed to the refinery. This is going to bring untold wealth to this region. We will have jobs, low gas, and good neighbors. I give them one short simple answer. That damned thing is gonna kill me. That is a fact pure and simple. When you stop and think about what you have been reading these last few months it boggles your mind. Here is an oil company coming into our home and purposely trying to kill me and you want me to sit back and say “Drill Baby Drill!” “Refine Baby Refine” is going to put to overload toxic chemicals into the air, I’m going to breathe this crap and I’m going to die. How simple is that? It’s like when I was flying combat missions over Viet Nam and they would flood the sky with missiles and antiaircraft shells. We would say it only takes one to kill ya.
You know this can’t be a good deal when there are organizations all over the United States and Canada that are joining in the fracas. These people aren’t Johnny do-gooders. These are people who actually care about what is happening to our lives and our climate. Many of them know firsthand the death and destruction that comes with refineries. If you look at the volumes and volumes of books that are written just on controlling the emissions from these refineries you know it can’t be good.
I know there are two certain things that happen in life and I want to keep the second one from happening as long as possible, but case histories will show that people’s health deteriorates when they live next to a refinery. It’s just a fact of life that there are increase numbers of cancer, diseases like asthma, emphysema, permanent lung damage, neurological problems, and my favorite – premature death. If I’m going to die, I want it to do it the old fashioned way; old and in bed. I absolutely don’t want it to be premature.
If somebody (in this case Hyperion Resource) is going to build a refinery I am going to make sure they get it right. Every nut bolt and screw is going to be done exactly as planned or there will be hell to pay. I still am of the belief they have no intention of coming here, but that picture is getting kinda faded. Here’s what blows my mind. The governor is saying “We know you’re going to pollute, but keep it low. He is going to cook the books. He has I’m sure given directions to DENR that no matter what happens, they will be approved. I would like to be in Pierre just seeing how Hyperion is interacting with the states daily operation when it comes to working on their application. Hyperion must really have a slick PR company working for them. They are submitting press releases on things that have to be done anyway; making it look as if it is their idea to begin with just “to give the people an opportunity.” Hyperion has asked for a public hearing on the permit to allow “the people” an opportunity to have a voice in the process. Again, that is a load of crap. As soon as someone submits a protest, the application automatically goes to a public hearing. That is state law. Now here is where Hyperion really has some guts. They submitted their own timing plan on how and when this is going to be done. It was in the Argus Leader on the 16th of October. I called Kyrik out at DENR and asked him if this was acceptable. He said they can submit a timing plan if they want to, to help speed up the process. I asked if DENR was going to set the hearing to be heard in this area or in Pierre. He said it will probably be in Pierre. I mentioned to him that the people in Union County and surrounding area really need to be able to attend this and why can’t it be in Vermillion or Elk Point. He said that may be a possibility. That is slick folks!
Do you remember a few months ago when the Akron Hometowner added a book to the reference library in Akron? It is a bound book titled “Oil Refinery Permits.” You need to go and read it just for the sake of trying to navigate through all the gobbledygook that’s in there. I wish I were a scientist so that I can understand it, but in laymen’s terms there are several items that are easy to understand and when I read them I have to sit back and try to figure out why Hyperion picked this area to screw all these people. This book quotes chapter and verse how and what Hyperion has to do to obtain a permit to operate and better yet, instructions to us on how to stop them. And stop them we must.
We must write letters to the DENR questioning their operation. Don’t make statements like “they are ruining our land and we want them to leave.” DENR won’t even look at that. The same holds true for sending a letter supporting or not supporting the venture. DENR won’t even look at it. Ask them a question about the application process concerning air quality and they will answer. They are required by state law to answer each and every letter.


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