Saturday, July 4, 2009

You Be the Judge

July 8th, 2009

You be the judge

Two sessions of the disputed hearing have been completed and another hearing will be held on the 15th and 16th of July with the final arguments on the 20th of August. We have made our case and now we wait for the decision of the Board of Minerals and Environment to render their decision. I am going to list many of the items that have been presented and then see if the board will agree with your decision. My gut feeling is that the board will vote unanimously to grant the permit. The governor has said this will happen and you can bet that the board is not going to disappoint him.

One of our expert witnesses was Dr. Pete Drivas. He received his Bachelors Degree and his Masters Degree from M.I.T, and his Doctors degree from Cal Tech. Those are very impressive credentials and he did us well. He testified that the Air Quality analysis was incorrect -

Because they used the wrong meteorological data,

they used inaccurate source parameters

and came to the wrong conclusions on visual impairments because their own data of up to 50% rather than the allowable 5%.

DENR and Hyperion were told to use meteorological data from Sioux Falls rather than Sioux City which was closer. They didn’t explain why Secretary Pirner chose Sioux Falls, but in my mind they used Sioux Falls because if they used Sioux City, it would put Sioux City over the allowable limits on air quality standards for future industry thus hurting the possibility of “Economical Development” with the coming of Hyperion. I have been saying forever that this will harm the development in Sioux City, but they endorsed Hyperion anyway. Be careful what you ask for, you might get it.

DENR and Hyperion had placed Elk Point and the HEC in the Sioux River Basin and he showed them that Elk Point was in the Missouri River Basin. This is just another example of the ineptitude of DENR and Hyperion. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that we are in the Missouri Valley.

In his conclusion of the testimony, he stated that he could not “sugar coat” the Hyperion data. Their data was just wrong and needed to be redone using the correct data.

The next day was testimony of a refinery expert from San Diego CA. his name is Bill Powers. He listed many many items that were inadequate, inaccurate and incorrect. Cost estimates were incorrect according to industry standards. He expressed the need that the specific composition of the stock crude oil must be noted for clarification of pollutants. This held true also for pet coke and coal that will be used to power the power plant.

Speaking of credentials, at the May hearing, Mr. Graham cross examined Mr. Colin Campbell who wrote the application for Hyperion. Here are some of the questions and answers. Mr. Campbell admitted under cross examination that he has no experience with the construction or maintenance of an oil refinery. Mr. Campbell admitted that this refinery would emit more Carbon Dioxide per barrel than any other refinery in the United States; Almost 19 million tons of Carbon Dioxide per year.

Now you can see by what I have written that anybody with a lick of common sense would say that this permit should not be issued until Hyperion properly and correctly submits data that can be verified correctly and accurately. I think what they have done to this point is to do a cut and paste out of a book of some kind that shows an example of a “typical” oil refinery application.

Oh yes, there still is no environmental impact statement submitted which will show how the refinery will interact with the surrounding area both economically and environmentally. Surely there must be a reason. A reason they want to keep hidden.

Hyperion disagreed with our presentation but offered nothing in rebuttal that would change what we presented. They just argued that different people come up with different answers and let it go at that.

So now the ball is in your court. Did we present evidence adequately that shows their calculations are wrong? Did we offer solutions to their problems? Yes we did but they said they weren’t needed. Did the BME take our suggestions to heart? They listened but took no action. Did Hyperion offer to make changes? No they submitted correct data. Is this all for naught? Yes it is, but it sets ground work for the appeal. End of story.

After months of letters, pleas and presentations, the only conclusion I can come to is that there is something fishy in Denmark. I said in one of my previous articles that rational men make rational decisions and that irrational men make irrational decisions. I should have added one more. Men under the control of the governor make irrational decisions depending on what the governor wants. The governor wants an oil refinery in Union County, and by God he will get one. When you hold all the cards, you win the hand. We lose. The fat lady still hasn’t started to sing yet though. There still will be something that happens that will pull this out for us.


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