Sioux Falls questions Where's Hyperion
i think the name of this article should have been "button, button, who's got the button." OR, "Put another long on the fire."
i think this attached article by Brian Allen of KSFY TV in sioux falls just adds validity to a statement that i made when this whole thing started. It Ain't Gonna Happen. you would think that this place would be crawling with hyperion workers getting ready for construction, working with state and local governments for coordinating projects and getting cooperation from the county especially for workers etc. but that isn't the case. like mr. allen said in his article. they have disappeared off the face of the earth. my article next week will be more detailed and indepth, but for now, enjoy what KSFY has to say..pay particular attention to the response from Mayor Trobaugh. isn't she a pip? i like the part about the "if" especially the funding part. i think this is the first time anyone has mentioned that Hyperion needs funding. funding from whom?
By Brian Allen
Story Created: Mar 17, 2009 at 9:55 PM CDT
Story Updated: Mar 17, 2009 at 10:50 PM CDT
Nine months ago, voters in Union County approved the proposed construction of an oil refinery by a margin of 58-to-42 percent.
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The refinery would be owned and operated by Texas-based "Hyperion Oil".
The company the construction phase will cost 10 billion dollars.
Once it's complete, it would employ over 18-hundred people earning a wage of between 20 and 30 dollars an hour.
But since that vote last June, the company has remained largely silent about it's future plans, leading some to believe the project may never never happen at all. We investigate what's next for Hyperion Oil.
The proposed Hyperion refinery would be built on farmland north of Elk Point. A few miles from the farmstead of Dale and Christina Driver and their five kids. "Taking a stand again the proposed refinery is a risk of losing friends, family, neighbors, all of that." Driver has filed a letter of concern with South Dakota's Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the state agency overseeing the refinery's licensing process. "We chose to live here because this is where we wanted to raise our children." Christina worries the refinery will lead to increased traffic and an increase in crime because of the expected increase in population.
There hasn't been a time where we've come to Elk Point and haven't just had to fight tooth and nail to get people to talk about this project. There's a lot of controversy surrounding it, you know that. That even extends to the mayor who was a little hesitant to sit down with me and talk about all this but finally agreed.
"This part of the country needs better, higher paying jobs and this would provide that. These jobs would run 20 to 40 dollars an hour." Elk Point Mayor Isabel Trobuagh tells me the project would help her small town survive while others fade away. But she brings up a point Action News has been looking into for months. Since voters approved the re-zoning necessary for the refinery, Hyperion has remained largely silent about their plans. Months ago, we asked Hyperion: if they got state approval, would they build in Elk Point? The company has always maintained they were looking at other unidentified midwest locations..not just Union County. The company didn't answer our question. And Mayor Trobaugh told us this; "...the commitment I got is if the air quality permits goes through and all the permits go through and they get the funding they will build here."
Action News Anchor Brian Allen asked her, "They told you that?"
Trobuagh responded: "But there's that 'if' ".
Governor Mike Rounds supports the project for it's economic development possibilities and believes the slow economy could speed the project along. "Construction costs have not been escalating at the prices they were before which is encouraging for them."
But what is next for Hyperion? I contacted a company spokesman on February 26th, March 5th and March 12th, asking to speak with someone for this story. I was finally able to this afternoon. Hyperion says they're *hoping* all permits are approved by the state. But what about the big question? If the permits are approved, will Hyperion build in Union County? Hyperion spokesman Eric Williams. "Best as we can tell yes an there's lots of other factors that aren't within our control and if everything works out to our favor we're very eager to proceed at the Elk Point site." Troubling news for Christina Driver. "I would not move to phoenix and say 'You know, I think I want to raise corn here so we're gonna move out all thse suburbs we're just gonna get rid of them...' "
A point of view Elk Point Mayor Trobaugh understands, with a caveat. "Something you have to change the way of life that you have for the betterment of the community and for the betterment of your country."
Mayor Trobaugh believes the Hyperion refinery will help America reduce it's dependence on foreign oil. Hyperion says if they receive all the proper permits for this proposed oil refinery, construction would begin sometime in 2010, with production beginning in 2014