Sunday, March 1, 2009

Say What?

March 4th, 2009
Say What?
As you may know from my previous articles, I am following the happenings with Big Stone II up in Milbank very closely, because as goes BSII, so goes Hyperion. They are a little bit ahead of us in the timeline portion of getting permits for construction on their 600 megawatt power station. They have the same problems with their permits that Hyperion is having. What standard of pollution controls do they put on the system to pass inspection to begin construction?
I spent a little over an hour on the phone the other day with Mr. Christopher Ajayi from the EPA Region 8 office in Denver. He is the individual that wrote the 23 pages of objections during the comment period on the Clean Air Permit for Hyperion. He was very informative and gave me all the information I was asking for plus more. After I was off the phone, I think the fog was a bit thicker. Now I’m a whole lot confused rather than a little bit confused. There must be something to that phrase “Too much information.”
This next part is really complex but I will try to explain it as best I can. The bottom line is that Hyperion is sneaking in under the wire with this refinery (as if I needed to tell you that!) They are intending to build it to the weakest standards and as cheaply as possible. They are purposely skirting laws in order to save money and avoid outside control.
One of the first questions asked of Mr. Ajayi was why was BSII being held to MACT (Maximum Available Technology) and Hyperion is only BACT (Best Available Technology) ? He said that BSII is a power plant providing electricity to external sources. Hyperion is a consumer and all of the power produced will be used internally. Hyperion is building a 200 megawatt facility and buys the rest of the power they need off the GRID. (The GRID is what they call electrical power plants that distribute electricity to centers around the country, like East River, Great Basin, and Otter Tail etc.) I asked why Hyperion just doesn’t build a 300 megawatt power plant then they won’t have to buy power. He said “very good question.” However, if they have excess electricity then they will have to sell it on the GRID, and then they are subject to rules and regulations of DOE, PUC and others. They will not have total control on how the power plant is operated. BADDA BING! ! ! ! ! Rather than subject themselves to being controlled by regulatory agencies, they will under build the facility and buy the rest off the GRID to avoid that outside control. Hyperion has said it will buy 50 megawatts of electricity from the GRID. How nice of them to put money into the local economy. - - Dirty rats…
Then I asked about an Environmental Impact Statement and asked why BSII had to submit one and Hyperion does not. Same thing, BSII is a producer and Hyperion is a Consumer. Sneaky, Sneaky, Sneaky…
We were talking about effects of pollution and I said I still didn’t understand why one facility was MACT standards and the other BACT. He said there is a difference in the makeup of VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) versus particulate in the matter of a power plant burning coal versus a refinery burning pet coke and coal for the purpose of refining crude oil. I said ok, but we are talking about a 200 megawatt plant and a 600 megawatt plant, what’s the difference? He said, the BSII is using “clean” coal and has more particulate matter than VOC, and Hyperion is using Pet Coke and coal creating Syn Gas, which in turn generates more VOC than particulate matter (soot, ash, dust and smoke). Now here is where I get lost. Ok I said then why isn’t Hyperion MACT because of the VOC and the fact that tar sands is very dirty. He said that because there can be two types of pollution standards coming out of the stack. It is all dependent on how much nitrous oxide, sulfur dioxide, ammonia, methane, lead, and mercury (VOC)is ejected as to what control standards are set. So I said ok it can be subject to both BACT and MACT. Yes they can. Now I’m really confused. Hyperion will be polluting more but subject to more relaxed standards, but since BSII is selling and not consuming they have more stringent standards. SAY WHAT???
I asked him why in the EPA report that they sent to the state, DENR said thank you for your information but we are going to do it our way? Well he said, the EPA gives states certain latitudes and authority under the Clean Air Act of 1990 to control permits and the EPA doesn’t have the authority to deny the permit for Hyperion at this point. Again, the state has the authority to do this. The EPA doesn’t really have authority until the refinery gets to the construction phase. Then they have 12 months after the refinery becomes operational to meet MACT standards. If they don’t then we can shut them down until they retool to meet standards. I asked why anyone would build to a standard they know will not meet EPA standards when it is going to cost them $10 Billion to build and then they can’t go into operation. He said that is a good question. He was wondering the same thing.
If this refinery were to come to town, there isn’t anyone in this state that would be able to tell you what the hell is going on. Do you see a trend here folks? Remember the terms Transparency and State of the Art? What a load of Crap! This is all deceit and deception. That’s the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God!


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