Sunday, May 25, 2008

You've Gotta Be Kidding Me!

May 28th, 2008

You’ve got to Be Kidding Me!

Or should I call this article “Turn a Blind Eye!” If you read the Sioux City Journal, Sunday May 25, 2008, they would like you to think that Hyperion is the greatest thing since night baseball. At least the Journal thinks so by the comments noted on the Opinion page.
It doesn’t matter whether or not you are for or against Hyperion; this vote is whether or not to change the ordinance. Hyperion’s application was approved by the Union County Commissioners back in March. The problem still persists; the application is not compliant with either the comprehensive plan of 2005 or the zoning ordinance. To make matters worse, the proposed ordinance that we are to vote on June 3rd was not written by Union County, it was written by Hyperion.
Paragraph 3B, page 26 of the 2005 Comprehensive Plan for Union County SD states and I quote that “Agricultural land is a non renewable resource. Once public and private decisions are made that result in the conversion of agricultural land to non-agricultural uses, the vital resource is almost always irretrievably lost. Of substantial importance to the county is to preserve all agricultural land in the county by whatever means are available and effective, until such time that logical and orderly urban development follows.”
The last sentence of paragraph A3, page states that “The character of the Agricultural Protection Area should remain agricultural in nature with industry or commercial business permitted only when it will benefit the area without degrading the environment.
I submit that Hyperion’s application is not compliant with Paragraph 3B of the Comprehensive Plan or Section 1301 (1) of Article 13 of the Zoning Ordinance. Therefore, until it conforms to the Comprehensive Plan, their application to rezone this Agricultural Protection Area should be denied.

The boldfaced items are taken from my testimony before the Union County Planning and Zoning committee on January 16th, 2008 and before the commissioners on January 22nd, 2008 and again on March 3rd 2008.
Save Union County filed a lawsuit with the 1st District Court of South Dakota and this issue is awaiting a ruling by the Circuit Judge on whether or not this lawsuit should go forward.
What I cannot understand is - what part of this application is not compliant with the Master Plan and Zoning Ordinance don’t people get?
Once again, the planning and zoning commissioners did not write this ordinance that we are voting on, this ordinance was written by Hyperion. We are giving Hyperion a license to do as they please if we allow this to happen.
Here are just a couple of items that Hyperion has written into this ordinance.
1. They propose to use what is called BACT (best available control technology) to control emissions. Contrary to what it says, it is the lowest standard of control.
2. The Applicant may need to modify the design and layout of the Project to obtain the State and Federal Approval. Accordingly the Ordinance is intended to be as flexible as permitted by law to allow for and accommodate such modifications.
3. Any such revised Master plan shall, automatically and without further action by the board, be deemed to be incorporated into this ordinance as a revised Exhibit B.
4. The applicant may, at any time, include additional portions of the subject property within the Industrial Zone by delivering a revised Master Zone plan to the Zoning Administrator provided the property will always be located more than 1/8th of a mile from the outside property line.
5. The Land Use Administrator may cancel a building permit only if the work described in the building permit has not been substantially completed according to the estimated construction schedule unless the applicant can demonstrate that the delay was caused by delays in obtaining state and federal approvals, delays in obtaining project financing delays in obtaining equipment, materials, or labor and any other cause beyond the direct and sole control of the permit holder.
6. This is the coupe de grace - - all ordinances or parts of ordinances in conflict with this ordinance are hereby repealed to the extent necessary to give this Ordinance full force and effect.
If we pass this ordinance, we are absolutely nutty. How or why would anyone in their right mind allow this to happen? Do we need a refinery in South Dakota so bad that we will allow them to do whatever they desire to accomplish this?
Do you know what bothers me the most? The Sioux City Journal has not printed the facts correctly; in fact, they have completely distorted the facts. They keep praying on your mind that Hyperion is good for Sioux City, good for Siouxland and Good people like the folks from Hyperion would be totally honest and straightforward with us about this project.
I don’t know how many times I can say this, but Hyperion’s application is not compliant with the 2005 Comprehensive plan and the zoning ordinance. Until they revise their application to make it compliant we have no choice but to do what the zoning commission and the county commissioners were afraid to do. Vote NO!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

It's The Vote!

I have been reading many comments the last few weeks both pro Hyperion and those against the refinery. What the people that are pro Hyperion are missing is that this is election is not about whether or not we should allow the refinery into Union County. This whole vote on the 3rd is whether or not to approve the change in the ordinance.
Let me point out a few facts and maybe this will be clear as mud when I’m finished. Most companies that come into a community to do business can only do so if they comply with current ordinances which allow them to do business. A business that proposes to do business that is not compliant with the current ordinances is not allowed to apply for building permits etc. until they are compliant with the ordinance. Does this make sense so far?
What Hyperion has done is to create a smoke screen and completely circumvented the process. As a result of their actions, Save Union County has filed a lawsuit with the 1st district court of South Dakota stating that Hyperion Resources is not compliant with the Union County Comprehensive Plan or the Union County Zoning Ordinance; therefore their application should be denied. This lawsuit is being reviewed by the circuit judge at this time.
The Union County Commissioners voted by a vote of 4 to 1 to approve Hyperion’s Application. It was Hyperion that asked for the vote. They already had the approval of the commission but believed that a popular vote would add credence to the commissioner’s decision.
Not only did they circumvent the process, they wrote their own ordinance. Union county did not write it, it was written and submitted by Hyperion. To show their brashness in their version of the revised ordinance, they added as a final blow to the process the following statement.
Section 805. Repeal of Conflicting Ordinances. All ordinances or parts of ordinances in conflict with this Ordinance are hereby repealed to the extent necessary to give this Ordinance full force and effect.
And people want to vote this in? This ordinance approval is nothing short of a license to steal.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Short Term Gain - - Long Term Pain

May 21st, 2008

Short Term Gain
Long Term Pain

Look at the heading for this week’s article. What is the first thing that pops into your mind when you read that phrase? What goes through your mind when you think about a toxic oil refinery coming to Union County? I’ll tell you what goes through mine. I think about the oil industry in general and it is a boom and bust business. It might be a monetary boom right now, but what happens when the price of oil goes back down? What happens when consumption of fossil fuels go down? What happens to the people in Union County if and when that toxic, putrid excuse for an oil refinery goes bust? What happens when Canada shuts the export valve of tar sands off? A few people will reap short term gain, but I’m here to tell you the rest of us will suffer long term pain.
There is an old saying that necessity is the mother of all inventions. When we get tired of companies like EXXON making $11 Billion in one quarter, I guarantee you that someone will come up with a fix. When that fix happens, oil will go the way of the dinosaur. Many historians will tell you that The French Revolution started with people getting upset at the price of bread.
Let’s put logic to the test one more time. With the advances in technology and the demand for renewable fuels, it is only a matter of time before consumption of oil products, mainly gas goes down. Industry is making great strides in the availability of hybrid cars, wind generated electricity, solar power and the use of geothermal for heating and cooling.
I saw the future of geothermal 10 years ago when I put geothermal in my home for heating and cooling. My home is 2,000 square feet and it costs me less than $400 per year to heat and cool my home at a constant 72 degrees. Let me say that one more time. I pay less than $400 per year to heat and cool my home with geothermal.
It is well documented that it is not productive to refine tar sands to petroleum products unless the price of oil is above $100 per barrel. If nothing else, I can guarantee you that the American people will not stand to be raped at the gas pumps much longer. There will be a countrywide boycott of gas to drive the prices down. Americans are not used to denying themselves the automobile, but at the same time when they have to make decisions about sacrificing not buying something because if they do they can’t afford gas for the car.
The ONE thing that really scares the bejeezus out of me is the very distinct possibility that if this were to become a reality and construction starts, they go out of business. If you look at the history of Al Huddleston, he has failed in one business venture after another. We could be stuck with an eyesore that will be with us for years. Remember I said that the oil industry is a boom and bust industry. There are many, many oil refineries in the United States sitting empty right now and turning into a rusted bucket of bolts because of the volatile industry that by nature is bad to start with and only gets worse.
What happens when Canada comes to its senses and realizes what an aberration the operation in Alberta has become and shuts off the valve? It is unconscionable to think that it is perfectly alright for the United States to rape and pillage the lands of Canada because of our unquenchable thirst for gasoline. Is it a wonder that people around the world have such disdain for the American glut? Do you realize that people in England today are paying almost $8 per gallon for gas? Granted, an imperial gallon is a bit more than an American gallon, but $8 is $8.
It has been said in the news that if and when oil gets to $150-$175 per barrel, there will be a “Silent Tsunami” around the world. Famine and starvation will be rampant. Is it going to take something this drastic for people to wake up? I truly believe it is our duty to stop this runaway stupidity. Remember that this evil growth has said it will pack its bags and go home if the people of Union County vote this down on June 3rd. I say “Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.” It is our duty and obligation to start the turn around on the gluttony of oil and look to alternative fuels.
How many of you remember the rationing of gas back in the early 70’s? It isn’t that hard to drive 55 mph to conserve gas.
We should thank God every day for allowing us to live in peace and harmony with our land. Speaking of “our land,” I would like to think this is God’s land and we are merely stewards of the land. It is our job to keep it clean and wholesome as it was when we got it. I think God would like that.
Dr. Richard Currie Smith is originally from Sioux City. His family has been in this area for 6 generations and he would like to see that continue. He mentioned to me the other day that the state of South Dakota might very well develop a new theme for its state slogan. “Pollute Thy Neighbor!” He also made a very profound statement about people. The fear of loss is greater than the desire for gain. Think about that for awhile. That my friend is an awesome statement.


Broken Record

May 9th, 2008

Broken Record

It is getting close to crunch time (June 3rd) and I just have to say that it is time for me to list facts and figures again and try one more time to convince everyone that is on the fence whether or not Hyperion is going to build a refinery in Union County. You can read this article again only more in depth, or just say that old fart doesn’t have a clue.
First and foremost, even if Hyperion wins the election, it will be a minimum of ten years before construction starts. Every Tom, Dick, and Harry is going to bring a lawsuit against Hyperion. The courts will be overflowing with cases. Every tree hugging organization in the United States will bring environmental suits against them. There might even be lawsuits by other oil companies. I truly believe that the permitting process is not going to be a piece of cake like the governor says it is. It took the refinery in Arizona 9 years to get the permits, and they still haven’t started on construction.
Speaking of oil companies, I keep hearing people say that because of Hyperion, our gas will be cheaper. If you believe that, you’re eating more than cheerios for breakfast I can tell you that. Just answer this question. If I were BP, would I buy gas from Hyperion or would I use my own gas? Dumb question; of course I’m going to use my own gas. After all, they are in the gas refining business as well. So that leaves out Shell, Amoco, Texaco, Chevron, Conoco, etc….. How many Casey’s and Kum & Go’s are there to soak up this 19 million gallons of gas a day? How long do you think these independents would stay in business if they were to suddenly sell gas cheaper than the surrounding stations? If this were the case, you would not see the same price on stations in town. As soon as one station raises or lowers its price, miraculously all the other ones do the same. Is that coincidence? I think not. Let’s not forget about jet fuel, kerosene, diesel, tar products etc.
Congress had a hearing last week in Washington D.C. and invited the oil executives from the top 5 oil companies to testify. Each of them was asked if they were provided the opportunity, would they build new refineries. Each of them said NO! EXXON reported $11 Billion in profits last QUARTER and the government is asking if they want to take out a loan. You’ve got to be kidding me!
The cost of refining tar sands is about 3 times the cost of sweet crude. There have been new discoveries of oil fields in northwestern South Dakota, North Dakota and Montana. There are tar sand and oil shale deposits in Colorado, Wyoming and Utah. Why doesn’t Hyperion go where the oil is and concentrate on refining this oil? I will admit that the United States needs more gas, but not from Union County.
Now let’s talk about tar sands. Canada is talking about putting a VAT (Value Added Tax) on all oil exports. That will drive the cost of production up tremendously. I guess that is why Shell is going to spend $27 Billion constructing a refinery in Alberta just for the tar sands. Canada isn’t going to tax gasoline products, just the tar sands. Who is to say that 10 years from now tar sands will even be a viable option? Current refineries are operating at full capacity now and many of them are building on. They already have the permits, so the delay in getting state and federal permits is eliminated.
This leads me to my next question, the labor market. Conoco Phillips has released to the media and the world that it is going to double the size of the facility in Port Arthur, Texas and that it will take 4500 workers 4 years to complete construction. Is this part of the 4500 workers that Hyperion was planning on bringing to Union County? If it is, they are out of luck. So where is this labor force coming from. This isn’t an industry where workers just appear out of nowhere. They are skilled workers according to Hyperion. This also means that local people hired by Hyperion must be trained or the unions won’t let them through the door. I know South Dakota is a right to work state, but we still have unions, and if you don’t believe the unions will be involved here, think again.

One specific item catches my eye every time I read the application from Hyperion. It states that the cost of the refinery will be $10-12 Billion in 2007 dollars. I really never paid any attention to that statement until now and suddenly I am wondering what this refinery is going to cost in 10 years in 2017 dollars? Will it be $15-20 Billion? Will it be more?
What is going to be the going wage for skilled workers 10 years from now? I’m sure it won’t be $20-30 per hour. I keep saying, “Read between the lines.” We are buying a pig in a poke here folks.
On Thursday, May 2nd, John Thune, Senator from South Dakota, endorsed opening up the arctic wildlife refuge to oil drilling. This bill also includes easing restrictions on tar sands and synthetic fuels. I keep telling people, you have to read the fine print. This bit about tar sands and synthetic fuel is hidden in the article and it is a one sentence statement. What a statement! In addition to voting no in the election, I urge you to write and/or call Senator Thune and tell him he is making a big mistake..

Till next week


The First Day of The Rest of Your Life

The first day of the rest of your life
I am being so overwhelmed with facts, figures and articles about the Hyperion project that I almost can’t handle anymore without going into overload. The only thing left is the hope that reasonable people will reach a point that they say “You know, we can’t let this happen.” Good sense has to come into play and soon. Let’s face it; we can only do so much. The rest is out of our hands and what happens, happens. Greed, self indulgence and materialism are a terrible recipe for success in life. I don’t think some people realize the seriousness of this situation. Lives are going to be changed forever if this project is allowed to continue. Whether it is good or bad for the state of South Dakota and the rest of the United States, the people most affected by this endeavor are the people of Siouxland, and I’m not sure it will be for the betterment of any of us. I’ve said this before and I will continue to say it. At what cost to our way of life and our lives in particular? I’m sure life will go on, but will it be as it is now? I don’t see the benefits of a 400,000 bbl per day refinery sitting in my back yard. God, the phrase finally came out. People who are for this project continually refer to us saying the only reason we don’t want this is because it is in “Our Backyard.” If it were in another state or in another part of South Dakota, we would be all for this. That is not true, but the fact is, Union County, South Dakota is the bulls eye.
On one hand, I have to respect the hopes and dreams of those who wish a better life for themselves, but do those that think of this of this as an economic boom have respect for my wishes? I don’t think so, and that is what bothers me the most. I have said since day one that Hyperion has no intention of coming to South Dakota, but the uneasiness and anger they are causing is almost too much. Hyperion still has not said that South Dakota is the site they have selected for the refinery, and yet people in this area are acting as if it is a done deal. Those that say this is going to be an economic boom to this area need to step back and take a long hard look at what will happen. I’ve always said, “Be careful what you ask for.”
Just for the sake of argument let’s say that the vote goes in favor of Hyperion and they get their application approved. This is just another step in the process of big business getting what they want by using whatever means is necessary to make their venture successful in their eyes. The economic boom is not going to happen overnight. They have 3 or 4 years of permitting to go through before the shovel gets into the ground. To prepare for the refinery, the Siouxland area and specifically Spink and Brule Townships must start working on the infrastructure to allow thousands of transient workers to invade this area to build this behemoth of a refinery. It has not been mentioned before, but in the zoning ordinance, is says specifically that when an area becomes a planned development, all trees, buildings and any superstructure must be removed. In plain words, the area of the refinery, all 3500 acres of it will be stripped to bare earth. Any wetland can be destroyed as long as the same amount of land is restored nearby. This, in my mind is unconscionable.
We (Union County) do not have the skills or expertise in our government employees to be able to make educated decisions on what Hyperion can and cannot do. We have no experience in what goes on or what it takes to build a refinery. We are giving a company from Texas permission to do what they want at their will and trust that they will do the right thing. What do you think is going to happen? If I wanted to be a bit cynical I would say that Hyperion just bought South Dakota lock, stock and barrel. This business is like waiting for the other shoe to drop.
I’m sure that my wife and I will adapt to this new environment, but we won’t like it. I urge everyone to really think hard about this and ask yourselves over and over again. Look deep into your heart and honestly ask Is this what I really want to happen to this beautiful place? Can I live with this 10 years from now? Can I live with this 1 year from now? After June 3rd it is too late to change your mind.
Let me end this with a verse from a song by the group Alabama, “Down Home”
Down home where they know you by name and treat you like familyDown home a man's good word and a handshake are all you needFolks know if they're fallin on hard times they can fall back onThose of us raised up down homeWhen I was a boy I couldn't wait to leave this placeBut now I wanna see my children raised
Down Home!


Conoco Phillips and Pet Coke

ConocoPhillips Looks at Pet Coke, Bitumen to Fuel IGCCs
28 May 2004Natural Gas Week(c) 2004 Energy Intelligence Group. All rights reserved
Bottom-of-the-barrel refinery-waste products and coal have been the traditional fuels for integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) projects, but recently attention has turned to petroleum coke and raw bitumen from oilsands as primary feedstocks, especially in areas where natural gas prices have soared.

The potential attracted ConocoPhillips, which produces 17% of the world's fuel-grade petroleum coke, largely from its Venezuelan operations, and has interests in the Canadian oilsands. The oilsands projects consume vast amounts of natural gas to generate electricity and steam for use in recovering the heavy, viscous bitumen and for power, steam and hydrogen used in the upgrading operations.

ConocoPhillips purchased the technology and licensing rights for the well-established E-Gas gasification process last year not so much to use in internal projects, but as a business opportunity created by the combination of higher natural gas prices and a growing supply of pet coke, bitumen and refinery-waste products, especially in North America.
The company plans to license the technology and provide engineering and related services to third parties, said Brian G. Evans, manager of ConocoPhillips' technology solutions division. The concept of taking poor-quality fuels and upgrading them into clean electricity while reducing emissions of a multitude of harmful gases and particulates also fit well with the company's sustainable development policies.

"Somebody should do that in a clean and responsible way, and we think that that should be ConocoPhillips," Evans told Natural Gas Week.

Recently the company took a long stride toward its goal. ConocoPhillips and engineering-construction giant Fluor signed a worldwide alliance agreement to facilitate the development, design and construction of new projects that would use the E-Gas technology.
The pact calls for the two companies to work cooperatively to provide a comprehensive package of services including licensing, development, engineering, procurement, construction and operations and maintenance of integrated gas facilities. The plants could produce a range of energy and chemical products.

Evans said the alliance with Fluor is the first step toward ConocoPhillips' broader goal to promote the use of the E-Gas process.

IGCC plants have comparable capital and operating costs to conventional coal units, but they can use lower-priced feedstocks while delivering superior environmental performance. The gasification process reduces significantly, if not eliminating completely, the amount of carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxide and mercury emitted, making them comparable to natural gas-fired plants in environmental quality.

The company received "a deluge of interest" from the market, "far more" than had been anticipated, he said. Almost all the interest came from North America, where natural gas prices are several dollars higher than predicted only a few years back when the boom in new gas-fired power plants began.

Among the interested parties are independent power producers, utilities, chemical companies and fertilizer manufacturers. Some are looking at repowering conventional coal-fired electricity generation units that don't meet current environmental standards while others are interested in retrofitting uncompleted natural gas-fueled facilities.

The chemical and fertilizer producers also are interested in the steam and hydrogen that are byproducts of the gasification process.

ConocoPhillips' role in these projects would be primarily that of a technology and services provider on a fee basis, Evans said. It does not intend to be an equity investor in third-party projects though it would facilitate relationships between financing sources and project developers as part of its services.

The company is close to signing its first contracts. Though Evans wouldn't disclose the customers' names, he stressed the North American nature of the business.

This suggests that Canadian oilsands producers are considering the ConocoPhillips IGCC option to produce electricity, steam, and hydrogen for their bitumen recovery and upgrading operations.

Another business option would be for ConocoPhillips to be a fuel provider to a project with off-take arrangements for electricity, steam and/or hydrogen for use in its own facilities. The only IGCC projects in which the company would invest would be in conjunction with its own downstream facilities, Evans said.

Further out could be integration of an IGCC with a Fischer-Tropsch plant that would use a portion of the synthesis gas produced by the IGCC as feedstock to produce ultra-clean diesel and other products. Evans declined to comment on any plans Conoco might have in this area, but he acknowledged that ConocoPhillips is developing its own Fischer-Tropsch technology.

As ConocoPhillips prepares a major push into the IGCC sector, a long-time player is getting out. ChevronTexaco is selling the Texaco-heritage IGCC technology business to General Electric's GE Energy. Texaco and GE have worked together on a number of IGCC projects around the world in the last 50 years, as GE is a primary supplier of gas turbines to the sector.

ChevronTexaco indicated that it was disposing of the IGCC business to focus on natural gas-related efforts, especially LNG and natural gas-to-liquids (GTL). GE Energy said the acquisition of the technology will enhance the portfolio of products and services that it could provide customers.
Industry sources told NGW that they looked at GE's action as "buying a market" for turbines that may have been intended for natural gas-fueled projects before the collapse of the energy merchant sector and economic downturn and natural gas price spike combined to reduce the need for more power plants.

--Barbara Shook

The Eternal Pessimist

April 10th 2008

Chapter 6: The Eternal Pessimist

What’s wrong with this picture? I keep reading responses to articles in the paper and listening to people talking about economic development in Union County with the proposed Hyperion Oil Refinery. I keep hearing about what an opportunity for jobs this will be. People ask me why I am against progress. Why don’t I want to see our young people given an opportunity to find good jobs and stay here in Union County? Why am I trying to help suppress an opportunity for people to have $20-$30 an hour jobs. Why am I so against economic development? Gee folks, I guess it is because a) it is not going to happen. b) If it does happen, it is going to be minimum or 4 or 5 years from now.

This is my idea on how this is going to work. First of all, you have two classes or types of workers. Blue collar workers, which are your construction and labor crews. And white collar workers, which are the office workers and management. Just for the sake of argument, let’s say that this project is going to start on July 1, 2008. For the next 4 or five years there will be nothing happening, because Hyperion is going to be jumping through hoops trying to get all the necessary permits which will allow them to construct the refinery.

Let’s say that Johnny or Mary Jones have their heart set on being a chemical engineer for Hyperion. Johnny and Mary are seniors in high school and are 18 years old. They are going to fit the timeline because they will start college about the same time Hyperion starts the permitting process. Zoom ahead 4 years and they both graduate from college with honors. Sorry, Hyperion doesn’t need any chemical engineers yet because they haven’t started construction on the refinery yet. They are still waiting on some final permitting. Johnny and Mary are now 22 years old and have graduated and presume they have some college loans to pay off, so they go to Omaha to get a job that pays them a decent salary which will allow them to live and pay back their college loans. (Being a chemical engineer isn’t cheap you know) The time is now 2012 by the way. Maybe Johnny and Mary are married now and starting to raise a family. They are at the right age you know. They fill out their resumes and send them into Hyperion. Hyperion responds that they thank them for the resume and will keep them on file, but they really don’t need chemical engineers right now cause they are just getting ready to start the construction phase and what they really need are blue collar workers. In the meantime the company is ramping up for the onslaught of 4500 construction workers to get this thing up and running. Now here is the 20-30 dollar an hour jobs. Mindful that the jobs they have now are probably making that $20-30 Just the factoring in inflation should get them there. Maybe they are even making even more money. But anyway this is the opportunity they have been waiting for and take the job. Look mom and dad I’m working for Hyperion. Bear in mind that this job is only a four year job because when the construction is finished, they don’t need pipefitters and welders anymore. Oh by the way, do you have a minimum of 2 years experience in pipefitting. Do to the complexity of this job you must be experienced.

The biggest splurge in jobs is coming from good ol’ government. Let’s count them up and see what we come up with.
1. Assistant Land Use Administrator – College degree and prefer minimum 5 years experience in the field. Must be able to read blueprints, line prints and blueline drawings. Needs to be able to interpret engineering drawings to scale. Since this is a 400,000 bbl a day operation we need 5 of them.
Inspectors – need someone actually go into the field and inspect portions of the refinery and make a judgment call yes or no. this inspection could be a barn, stack, and a hole in the ground. Be careful what you say though, because if you make any suggestions, it is coming from a position of authority and then they will take that as fact and then make engineering studies and changes to the drawings and sock you for the bill because you made them change it. Which by the way is adding 2 weeks to the construction schedule?

Here are the personnel Hyperion says they are going to need for this operation. Engineers, Operators and Supervisors, maintenance, instrument techs, mechanics, lab techs, Health and Safety, Human Resources, security, accounting, admin support, electrical techs, operations managers, pipefitters,

OPERATIONS - - 1,826 jobs.

The Devil's Advocate

Chapter 7: The Devil’s Advocate
April 10th, 2008

Just as I get my article ready to send in to the paper - POW!, another great story falls into my lap. This story is just too good to pass up, and I’m going to really play the devil’s advocate on this one.
I’m sure many of you read the article in the Sioux City Journal about area leaders meeting at Bev’s on the River on Thursday April 4th. What you might not know is that the meeting was closed to the public and the press. I understand it was by invitation only.
Debi Durham, who is the president of the Siouxland Chamber of Commerce, is quoted in the journal “We’re just following the same procedures we’ve always set up for these.” Durham said. “They’ve never been open to the public and the media. They’re educational forums for our membership.” The closed-door format, she said, permits a more frank dialogue between the participants. What a load of crap!
What I find harder to believe is that there are 250 community leaders in this area that allow this to happen in the first place. The Journal reports that there are normally only 75-100 business and industry leaders attending these Roundtable meetings. The high-profile nature of the Hyperion project generated much more interest in Thursday’s presentation. Can you imagine how many people would have attended if this had been an open forum? Hyperion Resources by the way touts the fact that they are going to be “Transparent” in dealing with the public in order to inform them on the process that they are undertaking in this project. If this is transparent, I’ll eat my hat. Oops, I forgot this was not a public meeting, so Transparency is not a problem here.
Councilwoman Patty Anderson from Hawarden said her city’s delegation learned the company would have its own fire department on site, as well as its own medical personnel and ambulance. Now really, do you think maybe she should read Hyperion’s application? I would like Ms. Anderson to ask herself what is going to happen if there is an accident at the refinery. Surely she doesn’t believe that only one person would be injured in an accident. How many people at a time can be transported in an ambulance, and to where? As far as I know if a catastrophic accident were to happen, every community in this area would be tasked to respond, because one ambulance and one team of medical personnel on call 24/7 would not be able to accommodate this. That means that like it or not, Hawarden must prepare to assist in something of this nature.
Ask Hyperion if they are going to aid them financially to increase the equipment and personnel necessary to assist in the possibility of an accident? I don’t think so. If not, Hawarden is going to pay for this out of its own pocket. This is only one item folks. I’ve said this before and I will continue to say, we (the Siouxland community) do not have the infrastructure or the money to handle situations like this. When Hyperion says this refinery will create jobs, did they mean at the refinery or did they mean what the surrounding area will have to do to accommodate them?
Mr. Skip Perley, president and CEO of Tech Corp. was amazed that the refinery would require up to 960 electricians. He said that’s approximately three times the number of electricians that are in the metro area today. Golly Gee Mr. Perley. The one interesting thing that did impress Mr. Perley is the fact that there are 796,000 valves needed to operate a 400,000 bbl per day operation. I hope he didn’t pay too much for his lunch.
One of the things I have been saying for many months, and a question that Mr. Bob James, Chairman of the Union County Planning and Zoning commission, asked and the public input meeting with Hyperion is what impact is this going to have on existing businesses in this area that have the skilled people Hyperion is looking for? I don’t know what a journeyman electrician makes per hour now, but I’m sure it is already more that $20-30 that Hyperion is going to offer. Does this mean that in order to keep a business staffed they will be in a bidding competition with Hyperion to ensure that they have enough employees to keep from going out of business?
Don’t get me wrong folks, I’m all for economic development, but not at the expense of local businesses going out of business just for the sake of a refinery coming to town and luring skilled company employees to go to work for them. You have to remember that during the construction phase there will be a need for 4500 workers. When the construction phase is over and the operation phase begins, many of these jobs will no longer been needed. Then what? Are these workers going to go back to their old employers and ask for their jobs back? If you were one of the businesses that were hurt by them leaving for greener pastures, would you hire them back? Is this loyalty to your community and your old company, or is this economic development?
Hawarden also was represented at the luncheon by City Councilman Bob Borcers and city economic development director Spencer Haacke. They could see a growth in population and economic activity. What kinds of economic activity do they forsee for Hawarden? Bear in mind that Hyperion has options on over 12,000 acres of land on I-29 and only need 3200 acres for the refinery. What do you suppose Hyperion is going to do with all those extra acres?
I’m starting to feel like the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse,” I hate to paint such a gloomy picture, but let’s face reality here. What is it going to take to make people realize that this is not good?
If you have comments, just email me at
Till next week


"You are always on my mind"

March 26th, 2008

Chapter 4. “You Are Always on my Mind.” (Willie Nelson)

Well, if you read my article last week, you would have seen that I hit the nail dead on the head with my prediction of what Hyperion is really doing, only it was the wrong nail. Topeka, Kansas announced Wednesday (March 19th) that its deal with Hyperion Resources in Dallas for a $10 Billion refinery fell through. I guess Hyperion is looking at other sites after all. The deal fell through because Hyperion had tied a 1000 megawatt coal burning power plant into the deal, and the commissioners, the legislature, and the governor turned them down. Duh! It would have provided 1800 jobs to the economically depressed area. Where had I heard this before? Now I am going to have to rethink this idea that I have about Hyperion’s quest. Anybody got any ideas. The article did say that one of the reasons they turned it down was that South Dakota has been the #1 choice since June of 2007 anyway. I wonder how we can get Kansas to change its mind.
I’ve written this weeks article many times and it just doesn’t come out right. I’ve written about all the bad things about oil refineries and the ugly pollution effects of refineries. It is so complicated that it turns into a dull textbook, and who wants to read an article in the newspaper that would put you to sleep. That’s what textbooks do to me anyway. What I really want to do is just write about how this proposed refinery is starting to affect our community and what it is doing to families, friends and neighbors. One has to ask of themselves, is it really worth all this strife?
Look back and think about what has happened to this area in just one year. Let me say that again. Look what has happened to this community in just one year. I don’t know how anyone feels about this, but the people in the affected area of Brule and Spink townships are bearing a terrible burden. Their lives are being torn apart by this proposed refinery. Can this refinery and its promises of jobs be more important than the lives of people in this area? Are we so in need of jobs that we are willing to tear these communities apart? It isn’t bringing 1800 jobs to Elk Point. It might bring 1800 jobs to this area. When you split that among 10 communities over 1000 square miles, you are talking about an average of 18 jobs per community. Are 18 jobs worth all the grief that this is causing? By the time all the permits are submitted and approved, it will be 2012 at the earliest before construction starts. I read in one article on the internet that this part of South Dakota is “Economically Depressed.” That is why Hyperion picked this place. Here is a bit of trivia for you. Did you know that when children from the Midwest apply for scholarships for universities back east we fall into a special category for those who are socially deprived of the arts?
I once asked someone why they thought Hyperion chose South Dakota. She told me because South Dakota has cheap land, lots of water, is away from natural disasters and that the people are stupid. We in South Dakota have no idea how the corporate mind works, and that emotional ties are the last thing companies like Hyperion are concerned about.
The people that are being hurt by this “proposed refinery” are those who stand to profit the least. I’m talking about acreage owners. These are people whose love of life, the land and the environment mean more than money. They see these small acreages as an opportunity to live comfortably, live in peace and quiet and grow old gracefully. Now, their properties are going to be worth next to nothing. Their lives are in total chaos. Whoever said that property values would go up is talking through their hat. Try to get a real estate agent to list an acreage for sale. The one thing that really bothers me is that it is liable to cause people to just get up and walk away. They can’t afford to move and if they could, where would they move to? They came here for a reason. Just look around you and you will see why.
Look at people who used to be friends and neighbors. Some won’t and don’t talk to each other anymore. People that are for this but do not live in this area are deceiving themselves when they say it doesn’t affect them. Nothing could be further from the truth. It affects all of us one way or another. We aren’t fooling anyone when we say something like that. That is pure folly. A year ago, I couldn’t spell oil refinery, now it is on everyone’s lips and it enters into your daily conversation. And for what? The only people that are going to profit from this live in Texas. I hate to be the bearer of sad tidings, but our way of life will change forever if this refinery comes into Union County. Change for the worse, not the better. I said in the first article that I wrote that this column would be biased. Now maybe you can see why. This is a bitter pill to swallow, and it doesn’t have to happen.
It is unfortunate that everyone in this area doesn’t have an opportunity to express their opinion at the ballot box. I had a person come up to me last week and tell me how lucky I was to live in Union County. She must have known I was confused by the puzzled expression on my face. She said “you get to vote, I don’t.” how disheartening for her that she has to live with this and has no say.
Even if you are for this project, I urge you to step back and ask yourselves – “is this the legacy I want to leave for my children and my children’s children.” Once the spade goes in the ground, it will be changed forever.

Till next week
vaya Con Dios ! (Go with God)


more conspiracy

April 3rd 2008
Chapter 5: Conspiracy

Well folks, it’s time to shift into 3rd gear. I made a statement two weeks ago that all this refinery business in Union County was just a ruse and it was really going to be into Kansas. As you know it is turning out to be the other way around. This makes me wonder; could there another conspiracy?
I live conspiracies; it’s kind of like writing your own book, and this one could be a lulu. Think about the following facts and draw your own conclusions.
What I’m really trying to do is to get you to think about what is happening around here so when you hear strange things that people say, remember what could really be going on. When you read the newspapers, read between the lines and you might be surprised. It all connects together, one way or another.
Let’s try this on for size. Just last week Governor Rounds signed into law a means to make it easier for the DME railroad( which runs from Wyoming through Brookings through Rochester Minnesota to end up at a point in Illinois) to condemn land by using eminent domain. To make a long story short, this railroad is carrying “clean” coal to power plants in the Chicago area to burn to reduce the pollution in the area. This coal is supposed to have very little sulfur and is supposed to burn so clean that it has become the solution to pollution in the Chicago area. Now let’s talk about what he isn’t saying. DME can’t get across South Dakota to points east without eminent domain, so he made it easy for them. He might be saying DME, BUT, He is really setting precedence for Hyperion to take advantage of this eminent domain law.
There was talk about 2 years ago to reinforce the railroad running through Yankton, Vermillion, Burbank and Elk Point, so trains could carry heavier loads. One of the reasons for this was that someone (Hyperion) was buying land between Elk Point and Burbank. We didn’t know this was Hyperion, but someone was taking options on land between Elk Point and Burbank. They still hold these options, which is about 8-9 miles away from the refinery site. The rumor had it that the Wyoming coal was going to be dumped here to be stored for use in Illinois. This would be a relay station so that coal was always readily accessible to Chicago. This was the “clean” coal that was in such demand. Better yet, whoever this was that was buying the land was going to build a power plant like the one at Port Neal, only twice as big. The coal wasn’t going to be stored here; it was going to be used here. Hyperion is planning to build a coal fired power plant. There is part of your 10-12 million barrels a day of water for cooling.
Want a little trivia? Ever wonder why the towns in Union County and Southeast South Dakota are always 8 miles apart? That is how far a steam engine could travel before ran out of water and had to fill up with water to keep going.
If you look at the application for Hyperion, they can build anything they want and have the discretion to put it where they want. Their master plan calls for what is called an IGCC power plant, but this could just as easily be a coal plant. One of the reasons Hyperion pulled out of Kansas is that they attached a 1000 megawatt coal fired power plant in conjunction with the refinery application. The commissioners, the legislature and the Governor said “NO.” Hyperion found out in Kansas that they should have asked for it in the beginning by just saying they were going to build a power plant much as they are planning to do here. If they had done that and the commissioners were as smart as they are here, it would have been a slam dunk. I sent an email to the reporter that broke the story asking if there was a lot of secrecy involved in the Hyperion deal in Kansas. I got a response back from him that it was so secret that nobody knew anything about this until the story broke in the legislature. How’s that for being sneaky and underhanded.
Well, anyway, back to the eminent domain thing with the DME railroad. This deal sets a precedence for (Yup you guessed it) Hyperion to come in and say “Instead of an IGCC”, which we don’t know if it will really work, we will build a Coal Plant, and since you’ve already approved our planned development, there isn’t a damned thing you can do about it because that is what it says in the application. Section C: PERMITTED USES AND STRUCTURES (a) Refineries, power plants, and all related appurtenances and supporting infrastructure. So, back to Eminent Domain. They don’t need to do this yet because the railroad east and west already exists, they just need to reinforce it to handle many, many trains a day dumping the coal for the power plant down by the Missouri river. But what they do need is a rail spur from Spink to the connecting point with Sioux City via Richland and Elk Point. HA! Eminent Domain! And now we have the rail spur they needed for the oil cars. Is this great or what?
Now switch to the TransCanada Keystone pipeline. Governor Rounds said again that someone, not necessarily Keystone is going to lay 2 more pipelines in the trench. One, to serve Hyperion, and one spare. Here comes Eminent Domain again. We have to get the pipeline from Yankton to Spink, and Hyperion will just declare Eminent Domain and the deal is done. Neat, Huh? They can get the land through Gayville, Meckling, Vermillion and right into Spink. Now they have the means to get the pipeline out to the gas pumping storage areas. More Eminent Domain , right along side the rail spur. If ever this were the perfect opportunity to do this, it just fell into place.
When this whole mess started, I asked Hyperion: “You don’t have any way to get the oil in and how are you going to get the gas out. I guess they are starting to answer the questions. This would be less painful if they would just come out and tell us how they are going to do it. This way we can be pissed off all at once instead of being pissed a little at a time. That gal last week was right. We are stupid. S L A M D U N K ! ! !

Till next week
“All Aboard”



“Everything you wanted to know about oil but were afraid to ask.”
“Oil for Dummies”
By Doug Maurstad
Chapter 3. Are you familiar with the game of chess? The reason I am asking is that this whole Hyperion Refinery thing is coming across to me as a bunch of moves in a chess game, and here is why.
Chess is a war game involving strategies to reach the ultimate objective of capturing the king. This oil refinery is coming off as a strategy to build an oil refinery, but the unanswered question is where? I don’t think Hyperion plans or has even planned to build a refinery in Union County, South Dakota. They still have not said that Union County is THE PLACE. If you look at all the things that are happening, it leads to one conclusion. They are going to build a refinery, but are using Union County as a sounding board on how to “grease the skids” on where they really want to put it. Let me expound on this and see if you don’t reach the same conclusion that I do.
1. In chess, there is the opening. You move your pawns in attacking probes to occupy strategic spots on the chess board to allow your stronger men (knights, bishops, queens and castles) to attack the king. This Hyperion thing started up here over 3 years ago. It isn’t coincidence that Mr. Al Huddleston shows up at Dakota Dunes for a golf tournament at the tri-state Governors conference at Dakota Dunes. It isn’t coincidence that he meets with Governor Rounds. He might have even played in the same foursome. Mr. Huddleston is probing South Dakota to see if we might be receptive to “Economic Development”. The governor takes the bait and can’t get back to Pierre fast enough. He gets his staff together and actively pursues this possibility. (Kings pawn to kings pawn 4).
2. Mr. Huddleston goes back to Dallas and rounds up his staff and says “It’s a go.” Start sending people up there to start taking land options. (Kings Bishop pawn to king’s bishop pawn 3). For about a year and a half, people are running around southern Union County like a bunch of ants collecting options on land from Burbank to Elk Point and from Elk Point north to Highway 48. Rumors are rampant about someone coming into South Dakota paying astronomical prices for options on farmland. (Queen’s Knight to Queen 3)
3. Finally in June of last year, a company called Hyperion Resources comes out with a press conference that Union County is a finalist for a site for this super duper oil refinery. People start going nuts. Meanwhile, Hyperion is practically taking out options on 12 square miles of land in the heart of the richest farm ground in the state. (Kings Knight to King Bishop 4)
Do you see where this is heading? Even after the commissioners voting 5-0, Hyperion still has not said they are coming to Union County. It is my firm belief that this summer, Hyperion is going to come out and say “Well, Union County, we have decided that because of circumstances beyond our control we are not going to build a refinery in Union County, BUT we are going to keep your land. Then they trot off to Kansas to build the refinery there which is where they wanted it in the firsts place, but had to see how all this played out.
Now back to my story about oil. The following is quoted from O&G Next Generation Oil and Gas
Today, in northeastern Alberta, Canada, a new gold rush of sorts is taking place. The sought after prize is not gold, but rather the oil contained in bituminous sands of the terrain in that region. The discovery is anything but recent, as companies have been involved in extracting oil from the “tar sands,” as they are known, for decades. Bitumen is a semisolid form of oil, which is too viscous to flow under normal conditions.
The bitumen (oil) is contained within a mixture of clay, sand and water making it extremely difficult, and expensive, to extract effectively. Even after the extraction from the sand, bitumen has the viscosity of molasses, so it will not flow in pipelines. Expensive diluents,such as condensates and natural gas liquids must be added to enable it to be pumped. In the past several years, ever-increasing economic incentives to supplement the available oil supply, as well as advancements in equipment and technology, have made developing and producing the reserves more feasible.
Extraction from the oil-rich sands presents some unique challenges, according to Heusinkveld. First, there's the upstream production to extract the bitumen from the sands.Two methods are used: open pit mining for deposits within 50 meters of the surface, and in situ production for deeper deposits, which involves steam heating and gravity separation into horizontal production wells to extract the oil from the sands. This method commonly is referred to by the acronym SAGD, for steamassisted gravity drainage. The scale of these production facilities is enormous, as two tons of oil sands must be processed to yield one barrel of synthetic crude oil.
The second aspect is upgrading the bitumen. “The majority of Dresser-Rand equipment applications are found in the upgraders; there are few on the production end,” Heusinkveld noted. “Upgrading looks like the front end of a traditional petroleum refinery. Different companies are taking various approaches. Some will do a lot of upgrading to create high-quality synthetic crude at the site; others will perform a minimal upgrade and have a major upgrade at the refinery. One company is upgrading just enough to take out some of the sulfur, metals, and ashphaltines to achieve 20° API, so the product can flow down a pipeline.
But it will require significant additional refining. Others are performing substantial local upgrading, requiring minimal additional refining. So there is no standard design.” Regardless of the method, a greater number of turbocompressors, reciprocating compressors, and pumps requiring drivers such as steam turbines are needed for bitumen upgrading than for conversion of high-quality sweet crude. Whether at the production site or downstream at the refinery, bitumen upgrading will involve hydrotreaters and hydrocrackers requiring hydrogen makeup and recycle compressors, cokers requiring wet gas compressors, and the waste streams requiring additional compression.
There are many terms used here that will appear many times in future articles, so you might want to be ready to G-oogle some of this.
Till Next time, Happy Oiling

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. 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


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 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,