Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Read My Lips, No Hyperion

January 7th, 2009

For those of you that are not familiar with how the internet works, when you print a statement using all CAPITALS, it means you are shouting. There is going to be a lot of shouting in this article. I absolutely cannot understand what the reasoning is behind the DENR comments to our concerns. What they reply to our questions and statements is absolutely unconscionable.
The DENR starts out by stating there were over 3000 letters commenting on the Hyperion application and that over 2800 showed overwhelming support for the Hyperion project. WAIT A MINUTE! ! ! ! I thought the comments to the DENR were supposed to be directed to them about why the application should be granted, and if not why not. WHEN DID THIS TURN INTO A DAMNED POPULARITY CONTEST? I read every response on the website and I’m here to tell you, form letters stating that Hyperion is a good thing for Union County is not a comment that is critical or supportive of the content of Hyperion’s application. I’m going to be shouting from the rooftops if this “so called” response from DENR is allowed to determine whether or not Hyperion’s application is approved. I want to throw up. I mean I want to THROW UP!
If it were to have been a popularity contest, we would have been out enmass collecting signatures on form letters. That wasn’t the case. Folks that are/were against the refineries application submitted valid concerns and questions about the AIR QUALITY APPLICATION. Almost every letter that had comments on the application were specific in nature and had a valid point to which DENR should have been responsive to. But with Hyperion trying to do an end around and flood the office with “form” letters it looks like DENR took the easy way out and grouped the responses and sent the responses back in a form document. I guess they consider sending a “form” response to each individual a valid response. THAT’S A LOAD OF CRAP!
This opposition to the refinery is not like voting for “Miss Popularity 2008”, it is an opposition that is disrupting to our lives. WHAT PART OF THIS DON’T THEY UNDERSTAND? The EPA sent DENR a 23 page response to Hyperion’s application that was very critical of what was in the application and DENR responded to practically every question “DENR does not recommend any changes to the draft PSD air quality permit as a result of this comment.”
Now, let me see if I got this straight. E-P-A- Environmental Protection Agency - - ENVIRONMENTAL means the land, water, air combined to create the world we live in. PROTECTION – to me means save against intrusion, guard against wrongdoing, hold in abeyance, stop and defend. AGENCY – department or body to enforce rules and regulations. Put this all together and we have a department that is to defend us against someone who wants to do harm to the air, land and water that we breathe and live in. THAT MY FRIENDS, IS A NO BRAINER. The EPA tells the state that the application is faulty. It violates standards or does not meet standards and what does DENR have to say? DENR does not recommend any changes. BARF!
Let me give you what I think is the kicker to this whole response by DENR. It pertains to an Environmental Impact Study. Several people including Jenner & Block submitted statements stating that it is imperative that Hyperion pay for and submit an EIS before granting the permit. Now logic should tell you that regardless of what the law says an application for a project of this magnitude would dictate that an EIS be done, if for no other reason that this will be the largest risk that has ever been done in the state of South Dakota and we should be absolutely sure it is done correctly. NOT DENR! Here is their response to the question on page 106.
SDCL 34A-9 establishes authority for a state agency, in its discretion, to require the preparation of an environmental impact statement concerning, among others, the agency’s issuance of permits. SDCL 34A-9-3(5) specifically exempts from this statute, actions of an environmentally protective regulatory nature. Air quality permits are “actions of an environmentally protective regulatory nature” and are not an agency action for which an agency may require the preparation of an environmental impact statement. WHAT? WHAT DID THEY SAY? DENR goes on – DENR therefore cannot assess the fee associated with preparation of an environmental impact statement as required by SDCL 34A-9-4, Legal assessment of the cost of an environmental impact statement is dependant upon the existence of an agency “action.” So what they are saying is that we don’t know how much to charge, so we won’t charge them at all. In the next paragraph is where the agency really shows its stuff.
The commenters assert that the preparation of an environmental impact statement would provide information that is not required to be provided in the air quality permit application, such as impacts of the proposed facility on noise, odors, road traffic, and regional infrastructure. However, these issues lie outside DENR’s jurisdiction and authority to consider in an air quality permit application proceeding. The specific issues which DENR is authorized to consider in an air quality permit application proceeding are those set forth in the air quality statutes and regulations. As a result, consideration of these issues in the air quality permit application proceeding would exceed DENR’s authority. Therefore, the information concerning these issues provided by any environmental impact statement would not be relevant to the pending air quality permit application. NOW THAT FOLKS IS A BIG LOAD OF CRAP. EXCUSE MY FRENCH, BUT THIS IS BULL. NOT ONLY THAT, IT IS AN INSULT TO THE PEOPLE OF UNION COUNTY. IT IS AN AFFRONT TO OUR DIGNITY AS CITIZENS OF THIS COUNTY; PERIOD.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

A bird in the Hand

December 24th, 2008
A Bird in the Hand …
I’ve always worked on the theory that a bird in the hand is better two in the bush. I’m here to tell you folks that the PickensPlan is the real thing. We can sit here and talk forever about Hyperion and whether or not it is going to happen, but the PickensPlan is happening. There is no carrot being dangled in front of you to see if we are the chosen one. It is happening right now.
I’ve been the district coordinator for about a week and you would simply be amazed at the talented people that have joined with the plan. Just in South Dakota are many people that are dead serious about accepting alternative energy sources and moving away from foreign oil. I get emails every day on people wanting to join and offering their services to do whatever has to be done to get more to join the program. They are so happy that they can do something to help reduce the dependency on foreign oil.
One of the big factors about foreign oil is that OPEC has just announced that they are going to cut back on production by 2.2 million barrels a day in oil and thus push the price back to $75 to $100 a barrel. It is a sad day when another country can dictate to us what we are going to spend on oil. It isn’t a case of supply and demand anymore. They’ve gotten use to $100+ for a barrel of oil and think they can hold us hostage to that. Well, that might happen with the PickensPlan for a couple of years, but when this gets off the ground and the infrastructure is built, those that are holding us hostage now are going to have a lot of oil to eat because we will no longer be dependent on them for our gas and electricity.
Let me tell you what the initial PickensPlan consists of. First they are going to get millions of Americans, you and me, to sign up to pledge that we will start conserving NOW. This will force the price of oil down because consumption will be less. Then the plan is to open transmission corridors across America to enable the power to get to where it is needed the most, and of course where the market is. Opening the corridors is something that is going to have to be done by the federal government because there will be so many states involved and negotiating with each state would be an absolute headache. President-elect Obama has promised that he will put alternative energy at the top of his list, and we have to believe that this in fact will happen because of the people he has nominated to fill these seats. He has picked top notch people who are environmentally knowledgeable about this and realize the seriousness of the situation. This plan is not something that will have the price determined by foreign interests. The price will be available at a rate that is 20-30 percent less than what we are not paying for just coal fired plants.
Think of what is going to happen with just the pollution levels when the windmills start producing. We already have a few windmill fields, but they are on a much smaller scale that what is going to be in the PickensPlan. I’ve always heard that things are bigger in Texas. They think big too. It is almost 1800 miles from the Canadian Border to the Gulf of Mexico. Can you imagine how many windmills can be put into a corridor 1800 miles long? The windmills are only one part of the plan. From the Atlantic to the Pacific oceans, are going to be solar farms. Not just little farms, humongous farms. Probably on the scale that Hyperion wants to use for the refinery. The big difference is that these will not be polluting the air or the water. The only problem with solar farms is night. But with the farms being built in the solar belt, when it is daylight, they will be producing massive amounts of energy.
The other thing that the PickensPlan is going to endorse is switching the 18 wheelers to run on natural gas. Pickens has said that almost 30% of the diesel fuel that is used in the United States is used by semi-trucks hauling product. I don’t know the figures on conversion, the price per gallon or anything like that. The one thing I do know is that we (The United States) have one of the largest reserves of natural gas in the world. Now don’t ask what they expect the trucks to get in terms of miles per gallon but whatever it is, has to be cheaper per gallon that diesel.
This is going to be a learning process folks, so if everyone does their part to get educated on these new ideas now, the less confusion there will be when the words really start coming in about the advantages of alternative energy versus oil. Go up on the internet to, you will find everything you ever wanted to know about becoming a member of the Pickens Army. Call me if you have questions, email me at and I will be happy to sign you up to the plan. In fact, I will be calling most of you anyway to talk about the plan. It has been a long time since I have been as enthused about this as anything else. You cannot imagine how much this is going to hurt the foreign oil industry and how much it is going to help us. Two for the price of one!

It's time to broaden my horizons

December 17th, 2008
Time to broaden my horizons

I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. This has been about the most interesting year of my life. I’m surprised that it took me 66 years to get here. Who would have thought that a nickel and dime outfit like Hyperion Resources could get ones blood boiling so much? It is hard to believe that I have been writing articles for the Hometowner every week since the 1st of March, but I have. I went back and read some of those articles and some of them are pretty funny, and some are pretty stupid. I tell you it makes me wonder sometimes if people in the surrounding area really have a clue what is happening here.
I thought about writing a year in review but Dodi doesn’t have enough room in the paper for me to do that. Instead you can go to my blog and read them if you would like. My blog is ( I’ve got all the articles up there and hope you enjoy reading them as much as I did writing them. I will still continue to do my weekly article and try to ride herd on Hyperion, but I’m not sure just how involved I will be.
I have recently been named as the state director for South Dakota, district one for PickensPlan. Since there is only one congressional district in South Dakota, I guess I have the whole state. This has nothing to do with the government or the state of South Dakota; it just identifies the area that I am responsible for. I am going to be recruiting people to join with the T-Boone Pickens organization to actively support alternative energy sources to stop dependency on foreign oil and to accept other ways to conserve energy to stop the “Greenhouse” effect. This is just another way for me to help stop Hyperion. I’m not going anywhere but I will be spending more time in different ways stopping Hyperion from building a refinery in South Dakota. The word about Hyperion needs to be told to everyone in the siouxland area, and the job that I will be doing will be giving me an opportunity to do that. The name T. Boone Pickens carries a lot more weight than Doug Maurstad.
I would ask another favor of all of you and that is that if you want to become a member of the PickensPlan to send me your email address so that I can connect you with a link that will not only increase the size of the opposition to foreign oil but add to the rolls of those who support T-Boones’ plan to lessen dependency on foreign oil. There are currently about 1.4 million people that have signed up to do this and they would like to have a goal of 2 million by inauguration day. My personal goal is to enlist 500 people by then, but I’m confident I can get that many members just in Union County and the surrounding area. There is no money involved in this, I am just asking people to join the reform. If you don’t have an email address, just call me and I will stop by with a sign-up form and just fill it out. My number is 605-957-5193...Remember, this is a twofold front. By endorsing alternative energy you are also continuing to oppose Hyperion. This is a good thing.
If you will remember back to the first article that I wrote for this column, I said that Hyperion has absolutely no intention of building a refinery here. They still have not said they are coming. They won’t say how the oil is going to get here. By the way, I subscribe to a Canadian news service and 2 business papers in Canada and they are all saying that companies are halting production in the Tar Sands. Some of them are going broke and are prime for a leveraged buyout. With oil down to $40 a barrel and below, it might be a long time before Hyperion can get the ball rolling. I would think the option period on the land will have passed, so they will either have to buy it or let it go. We can only hope they decide to cut and run back to Texas. Unless they can get some investors for the long term, money is just too tight to be spending it on a wish and a prayer. I am guessing, but I think for Hyperion to buy all the land they have optioned, it is going to cost them over $15 million. That is about half of what Hyperion’s net worth is, so I don’t see them spending that much money just for land. I don’t think in their wildest dreams they expected the economy to be where it is today, let alone the price of oil. If you remember last July, it was $147 and today is $40. So much for Hyperion and the refinery.
To learn more about what the PickensPlan is and what its goals are, go to and there is a wealth of information available. The plan’s main emphasis right now is reducing dependency on foreign oil by converting 18 wheelers to run on natural gas rather than diesel. Maybe it is because Pickens owns half the supply of natural gas. (just joking) The big thing about my being part of PickensPlan is that it will gain more exposure in the Siouxland area. It seems to me that the word is getting out to a limited audience, and I want the whole world to know that we don’t want Hyperion to build a refinery in South Dakota. Please call me and I will come, email me and I will submit your name to the main collection point. This is a WIN-WIN situation, so please take advantage of it.
In any moment of decision the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing."

--Theodore Roosevelt,
26th president of the U.S

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Jobs, jobs,jobs

December 10th, 2008
Jobs, Jobs, Jobs
The title this week is not what I started out intending to write about, but after reading an article in the Estherville, IA paper on December 4, 2008 I thought I had better bring people a reminder as to what is and what is not economic opportunity in South Dakota.
The Estherville IA paper mentioned 2 states with lower than the national average on unemployment and that South Dakota would be a terrific place to look with the coming of the coming of the Hyperion Energy Center. They mentioned 4000 jobs during construction and 1800 permanent when the refinery is finished. I couldn’t believe that after all this time, there are still people that believe this stuff. Then I started to wonder how we can get if not national exposure, at least get attention in the local region as to what is going on with this refinery. I mean Estherville is only a little over 100 miles from the proposed refinery site and I would hate to see people’s hopes dashed when they come looking for jobs. I responded to the article by saying that they need to reconsider what was said. I think it might not be a bad idea to remind everyone what the possibilities are for jobs if Hyperion decides to come here.
1. Hyperion still has not said that they are coming here. If they were, would they still be renewing options on the land when they could just buy it outright and get it over with? Oops, I forgot, they don’t have the money to buy it outright do they? With the downturn in the economy, long-term investors might be hard to come by especially the really BIG oil companies that are curtailing construction on their own refineries.
2. Of the 4000-8000 jobs that will be temporarily available, how many people will have the skills that will be needed? Remember the statement by the pipefitters and steamfitters union that this job will require 1000 fitters and that there are only 400 in the entire siouxland area? Now let’s put pencil to paper and if all the fitters go to work for Hyperion, how many businesses in Sioux City will go out of business? Or better yet, how many businesses will get into a bidding war with their potential loss of employees just to stay in business? Is the economic development the Sioux City chamber of commerce is endorsing? Come on folks, this is a joke.
3. Of the 1800 full time jobs that will be available, 80% or 1440 jobs will be imported because people around here don’t have the labor skills the jobs require. Sure, there will be manual labor jobs, but skilled positions will be a rarity. Of the 360 jobs that will be filled, how many will be given to people who already live within close proximity of the site and will only have to commute to work? This is not bringing new growth to the area. It is bringing new jobs, but not growth.
4. Refineries are historically built in economically depressed areas. Does this mean that Hyperion considers this part of the state economically depressed? Certainly not Dakota Dunes, but do you remember a statement made by someone at Hyperion that this will give the farmers a second income to supplement their depressed earnings? Or, it will give the farm wives additional opportunity to bring added income back to the farm. There was a study done by someone that figured the average income for farmers was $27000.
To everyone that reads this column I would like to ask you to do me a favor. There is a theory called the “6 degrees of separation”. What this theory is that communication has made the world so small that you can pick any one person anywhere in the world and by the time the sixth person is called you will find someone who actually knows or has spoken to this person. This works. I’ve done it. So – here’s the thing – pick one person far away from you anywhere in the world. You may only call the one person. Ask them if they know about Doug Maurstad and his position on the Hyperion Energy Center. The other person may or may not know the answer. If they don’t know the answer, then instruct them to follow the same directions I gave to you to call only one other person and ask them the same question, do you know Doug Maurstad and the Hyperion Energy Center. Also, instruct the first person you call that this is to go no farther than 5 other people and that if and when it goes to the 6th person they are to email or call you with the answer. So, you have to call someone that you do not talk to on a regular basis, preferably someone you have not talked to in a long time. Ask them if they know Doug Maurstad and the Hyperion energy center. Give them your phone number or email address for the last person that is contacted that knows Doug Maurstad and his position on the Hyperion Energy Center to call or email you with the answer.

This will accomplish 3 things. It will get you connected to someone you haven’t talked to in a long time; it will let other people know about the Hyperion issue, and it will truly baffle you that something this nutty actually works. I know the guys won’t do this unless curiosity gets the best of them, but I’m sure all the women will. Trust me, it will work. Remember, when you get your answer email me and let me know the results. This is a great thing to do at Christmas time. My email is I will publish the results in the paper when I get them back. Now don’t disappoint me on this. Trust me it will work. I’m betting that none of you will get to the 6th person. Special notice will be given to the person the farthest away that knows the answer.