Monday, March 9, 2009

A New Player

March 11th, 2009
A New player.
This might be kind of a different article this week. Let’s see where it takes us. I held off writing it so that I might be able to include some news from a new non-profit organization that has been formed called SEEDCo. (Sustainable Energy and Economic Development). Their website is, or This organization was formed in conjunction with efforts by Save Union County, The Sierra Club and COOP. I went to a community workshop at the university Saturday to listen to speakers talking about alternative and renewable energies such as solar, wind, biomass etc. and what we can do to help.
This organization is taking a different approach to helping the fight against Hyperion. Their purpose is to educate us into taking personal action to help the environment by utilizing methods of conservation, renewable energy sources, recycling and many others to combat the climate warming that is happening. By becoming involved in this process, we reduce our dependence on foreign oil, which in turn will slow down the refining process, which will reduce consumption of oil, which will discourage companies like Hyperion from building refineries, which will keep our countryside clean and pristine like it is now. That was a mouthful wasn’t it? Kind of like the Domino effect. You might say this is the passive approach to convince Hyperion that they don’t want to come here. We are actually killing three birds with one stone. It will convince Hyperion this is a bad idea, and they will teach us how to conserve, preserve the environment, and save money doing it. That is a win-win-win situation if you ask me.
I have always tried to look to the positive when things are happening. This economic crisis we are experiencing is already having a positive effect on people’s lives. (What?) There is an old saying that those that don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it. I don’t know if doomed is the right word, but we are repeating history. I’m not old enough to remember the depression, (I wasn’t born till 1942) but I am old enough to remember the aftershock of the depression and the “dirty30’s.” I was born in Nebraska, and when I was growing up my family was poor. Everyone was poor. The difference was that kids didn’t know they were poor. Our parents kept this information from us. The fact that everyone was in the same boat didn’t really make much difference. We survived. I can remember my parents telling me how very important it was that I get an education so that I would never have to go through what they went through. Guess what? It is happening all over again. But – and I say this optimistically, this turn of events is a good thing. We are fast becoming an entitlement society. A lot of people are saying “You Owe Me!” I’m sorry, but nobody owes you diddley. Nobody says life is fair, but we will get through this. Do you know why? This is once again going to teach people the meaning of HUMILITY. (Lord knows we could use a dose of it) We are going to find out how much backbone we have in us, because times are going to get tougher. Just one example of this is that homeowners are getting a raw deal. The value of our homes from a year ago will not recover in our lifetime, but again, nobody said life was fair. This isn’t just happening here, it is happening all over the world. But, if you are strong and tough it out, we will get through this. We are being forced to get rid of the “me” attitude and start thinking “we”. We are America! We are strong!
Back to my story. Now is the time for change. If ever there was an opportunity to accept change, this is it. Current events are forcing us to look at different ways of doing things and to accept a different lifestyle. The use of alternative energy is one of those lifestyle changes. Wind energy is initially expensive. We were told that to put up just one tower is now going to cost $3-5 million dollars. The return on that investment is 9-10 years, but 10 years from now the cost for electricity should go down. (Where have you heard that before?). The point is that once we start using solar and wind energy we will be using less oil, and that is the objective. 1) It helps the environment. 2) It saves you money, and 3) no Hyperion.
There is a public hearing coming up around the 15th of April in Elk Point. The state of South Dakota Water and Minerals board will be conducting a public hearing on whether or not to grant an air permit for Hyperion to begin construction. This is your last opportunity to try to persuade and influence the board not to grant this permit. If the board grants the permit, that will give the green light to Hyperion to begin the construction phase of the refinery. They will still have many, many permits to get, but they can start. When you go to the hearing to speak, the board does not want to hear sympathy. The fact that your farm has been in the family for 900 years doesn’t mean squat. The consequence of why you may lose your farm that has been in the family forever IS important to them. These are the facts they need to hear. Keep it short; keep it simple; keep it sweet.


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