Saturday, July 4, 2009

same song, second verse

Same song, second verse

Well, the Governor is at it again. He was down at the Dunes last week touting economic development in South Dakota. When he was asked about Hyperion, he said they should begin construction within 60 days. Now this guy has really got guts. We still have at least four days of testimony before the Board of Minerals and Environment, and he is saying it is a done deal. I guess if you’re the governor, and you appointed the members of the board I guess you can declare the outcome can’t you.

Just in case many of us have forgotten, we are not just protesting the refinery; we are against the way the refinery is going to be built. There are standards that industry is supposed to follow when building something and what we are saying is that the application that Hyperion is submitting does not meet the standard, and until they do their application should be denied.

One of the main sticking points in all of this is that Hyperion must submit an environmental impact statement to show everyone how they will be affected not only environmentally, but economically as well, and Hyperion refuses to do this. One of the strong points that Hyperion has been touting since their arrival has been that they will be “transparent.” Well, if they are so transparent why won’t they tell us the ramifications of what life will be like when the refinery is finished? If they want to be a good neighbor, tell us what you are going to do and how you are going to do it. Tell us what we can expect during the 5 years it is going to take to build this thing. Tell us how this will affect local towns, industries and life in general. What are they afraid of?

Another point that we keep hammering away at is the Clean Air Act revision of 1990. If this refinery comes to being, how will it affect local industries that may want to expand their operation? The National Air Ambient Quality program says that you can only have “X” amount of pollutants that are harmful to health in the air and if you exceed that amount you are not allowed to build unless you take measures to control those emissions. That isn’t too hard to understand, but you take the amount of pollution emitted by Port Neal and the amount that will be emitted by the refinery and their power plant and you have exceeded the limit. This will drastically reduce our ability to have “economic development” that Sioux City is bragging about when the refinery comes in. Any company that wants to build will have to take expensive measures to ensure they stay under the limit. It also drastically reduces our health and well-being for the air that we must breathe. Don’t forget that Hyperion has admitted under oath that they will emit over 19 MILLION TONS of just carbon dioxide, not to mention 8,000 tons of particulate matter. That just sounds hideous to me. And they think we should be happy to have them in our midst? One can’t be serious to think that this will be good for our community. Either that or people are just plain ignorant and/or are willing to sacrifice their health for jobs. Now that is really dumb.

This leads me to another topic – jobs. I know I’m beginning to sound like a broken record, but one cannot be serious thinking that this refinery is going to bring us jobs. Granted, there will be jobs, but they will be bringing in their own people for these key positions, and that includes the 4,000 to 5,000 temporary jobs. Why would anyone think they will take the time to train someone for a job when they already have said they are going to bring in 80% of the jobs that will be open. Haven’t you heard the term wish in one hand and poop in the other and see which one fills up first? Do people honestly think there will be permanent jobs when this is all done? I do wish people would deal with reality. Has Hyperion ever come out and said exactly what and how many jobs will be filled locally? They put out a pamphlet once saying what types of jobs will be necessary to run the refinery, but never have they said specifically how many there will be. I don’t call 300 jobs a godsend. We have call centers opening up in North Sioux City that hire that many for crying out loud. How many people do you know that are planning 5 years in the future for a job that pays what they are making now? I’m completely dumbfounded with the dreams for a better life that people think Hyperion is going to be bringing to us. This isn’t our savior folks.

The final 4 days of the contested hearing started yesterday. This is our turn to put expert witnesses on the stand to show just how inept Hyperion is at this business. It is also going to show that the state does not have anyone qualified to monitor their development and operation. For the life of me, I cannot understand how anyone in their right mind could allow this permit to happen. It must take some powerful arm twisting on the part of the Governor to allow this, and you know he has already said construction could start within 60 days. We have to prove to the governor and the people of this state that we have the resolve not to let this happen. Your support is vital to this happening. I know there are many of you that are against this happening but are keeping it to yourselves. Now is the time for you to open up and tell everyone that this is not good for us and join in our fight to keep this from happening.


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