Saturday, January 30, 2010

Here's one for the little guy

<$BlogMetaData$>February 3rd, 2010

One for the Little Guy!

9-0 was the unanimous decision by the board of directors at Clay Rural Water on Thursday night to deny service to the refinery. There were about 40-50 people there as a show of unity for the board. There was a standing ovation after the vote was taken. Three of us spoke requesting that the board not accept the proposal for the refinery. I spoke for my allotted 5 minutes and reminded the board that if the refinery were to pull out or go bankrupt they would be stuck with a white elephant and the members of the system would be stuck for the bill. I also asked them to obtain a financial statement and consult with a risk management agency before they decide to vote to accept the proposal. I also said it was ludicrous to accept their version of paying us back by adding a portion of it to each monthly payment. If they paid back $1 million a month it would take them 4 years. This doesn’t include interest. And this would be after they started production because there would be no income until they start. Can you imagine paying for a system on the installment plan? I wonder if they wanted to use Visa or Master Card. Oh well, it seems the vote was already decided when they came into session because they already had a press release ready to go. I guess this was more of a formality than actual business. It gave us a warm fuzzy anyway. Woo-Hoo!

At the other end of the spectrum were the results of the ‘Bucket Brigade’ test last November. Everyone remembers when we did that right? Well, come to find out another brigade did tests near a Michigan refinery at the same time. The results were complete opposites. Our air was so clean it didn’t even register on 2 of the three samples that were sent in for processing. One sample did show minute traces of ethanol and limonene, a non-toxic chemical but sometimes odorous pollutant associated with decaying agricultural waste.

There was stark contrast by the brigade that tested samples at the Marathon refinery in Detroit. Air samples taken during a strong odor incident in the 48017 (location) near the operating Marathon oil refinery revealed at least four major refinery toxic air contaminants, including benzene and hydrogen sulfide. Benzene is a potent human carcinogen associated with refinery emissions. Levels of benzene in the two samples sent to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality were ten times above the level of benzene that the World Health Organization (WHO) associates with an increased lifetime risk of cancer. Duh! The Marathon plant by the way processes Tar Sands from Alberta. Hydrogen sulfide levels were very high. Hydrogen sulfide is a potent toxin that attacks the brain and nervous system. But don’t forget folks, this is Economic Development! ! ! !

Hyperion spokesman Eric Williams said you can't compare the plant in Detroit with the plant Hyperion wants to build in Union County, South Dakota. He says there have been huge strides in technology since the Detroit plant was built in 1930.

Oh what a bunch of crap. My heart bleeds for them. Does Eric Williams actually believe that or is it because he is paid to spew out all that psycho-babble? At what point with the State of South Dakota say this is stupid and call a halt to this silliness. Do we need to have somebody come down with a severe case of poisoning before they will listen to us? Stupid is, Stupid does.

Hang in there folks, the fat lady hasn’t even started to warm up.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Holy Hypereion Batman!

<$BlogMetaData$>January 27th, 2009

Holy Hyperion, Batman!

Okay folks, there are some things happening with the refinery that is like a recurring nightmare. First of all there is a request by Hyperion EC to Clay Rural Water to provide them with service, which will be voted on tomorrow night at 7:30 at the CRWS building on Hwy 19 at Wakonda. The 2nd thing that amazes me is the vote last week by the mayor and city council on a building in town.

Here is a breakdown about Hyperion Resources and Legacy Investments Inc. these facts were obtained from Dun & Bradstreet. Read these facts and tell me that Hyperion is a viable company. These figures are 2 years old, but I can’t imagine they have changed very much.

Hyperion Resources Inc.

5910 N Central Expressway, Dallas, TX 75206 - - 214-750-1522

Privately held, Incorporated in Texas in 1990 (also registered in Louisiana and Michigan)

Chief Executive: Albert D. Huddleston

President: Robert B. Thompson

Info from Dun & Bradstreet:

Annual revenues: $12.3 million

Employees: 60

Parent company: Legacy Investments Inc. 5910 N Central Expressway Dallas, TX 75206


Incorporated in Texas in 1990

Info from Dun & Bradstreet:

Annual revenues: $16.1 million

Employees: 74

Let’s look at what is happening with Hyperion and Clay Rural Water. At their meeting this Thursday, they are going to vote on whether or not to provide service to Hyperion.

Last spring, Hyperion sent a letter to CRWS requesting service, and expected CRWS to pay for the engineering study and bear the cost of construction. Hyperion would pay them back with monthly installments added to their water bill. I’m not kidding you folks, this is what they proposed; I was there for the presentation. Now this company has guts. Who in their right mind would accept such a proposition? Anyway, CRWS voted to table this until they obtain more information, and that Hyperion would bear the costs. CRWS is not is a position to bear all these costs. Come on now, CRWS had to get a loan just to complete the Wynstone addition and that was in the neighborhood of $800,000 I think. This is getting funnier than a soap opera isn’t it? Okay, now back to this week. Hyperion isn’t going to be present, but they are requesting service. This can’t be a serious offer. I did ask Mr. Merrigan, who is the manager of CRWS if they have asked for a financial report on Hyperion before they consider this request, but as of when I am writing this article, I haven’t had an answer. I hope for the sake of being serious, they have asked for one, but Hyperion hasn’t supplied it yet.

Now let me give you some thoughts to reinforce the idea of why Hyperion is never going to happen. Last summer, the air permit was approved and Hyperion could have started construction the very next day, but they didn’t., instead they released 6000 acres of land they held options on. They still haven’t bought the land for the refinery site. They just paid their last option money. This year is critical because they either have to buy the land or renew their options, which are open to negotiations. By the way, they still have not said that they are coming to Union County. Preston Phillips is on record again saying that the company can be profitable with oil at $60 a barrel. Just last spring it was $90 a barrel. I don’t think they have a clue which way is up. I don’t think Hyperion has enough money to even buy the land, and cannot find investor capital to come up with it either. Valero is the largest refinery in the United States and they just closed a 220,000 barrel per day refinery in Delaware. Practically all the refineries in the United States have cut production to 60-70% of capacity. And Hyperion wants to construct a refinery? This all adds up to a big pipe dream (a little play on words there). It isn’t going to happen folks.

Let’s go back to the mayor and city council vote last week on the property for sale that the council turned down bids on. A church bid 35,000 for the building and was turned down because it is a non-profit entity and wouldn’t have to pay taxes. What a statement for the council to make. Here is a church that brings people to worship and the council says no because they won’t pay any taxes? You’ve got to be kidding me. What makes a town grow? What is one of the most important focal points of a community? A Church! Evidently this church would have been competition for other churches (non taxable) in the town. The other bid that was denied was for Boyer Inc. of Hawarden to buy it for $45,000. Of course this is only $10,000 more than the church offered. The reasoning for denying this bid was because the mayor said that Hyperion is coming and might want to put an office there, so they should wait and see what happens. . I was always told that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Or did the council deny the bid because Boyer is competition to Higman Sand and Gravel? Back to the quote from the mayor that Hyperion will begin construction soon and he wants Akron to be in position to bid. That means that Akron might do like Elk Point; They offered to sell the rights to the auditorium in EP to Hyperion for $1 for a year. They didn’t take the offer. If you will remember I have been writing this column for over two years and have been saying for over 2 years that this will never happen. Hyperion was originally going to begin construction in 2009, then it was 2010 and now it is the third quarter of 2011. How long is Akron going to wait for the savior to come? I don’t know what Boyer intends to do with the building, but if it is a business, they employ people and they pay taxes. Duh! Okay that is enough about slamming the mayor and the council, it is like - - poop in one hand and wish in the other and see which one fills up first.

What does it take for people to take a dose of reality?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

what does the future hold part 2


I have had several comments about this last article, mostly about money and jobs. what i think people don't understand first of all is that this is not about money it is about health. it is fact and not fallacy that the refinery will pollute. 19 million tons of CO2 is nothing to sneeze at, but this is minor compared to the toxins and particulate matter that is dangerous to ones health. Hyperion has not submitted any qualitative or supporting data on how they will control dangerous emmissions. sulfuric acid, carbon monoxide, heavy metals, nitrous oxide and many particulate matter are dangerous to ones health and quality of life.

as far as jobs are concerned, lets be frank about this and concede that we do not have qualified welders for the miles of piping that will be in the refinery. if you look at the web about qualifications, it requires a minimum of 5 years to be able to make seamless welds in the field. the refinery is not going to take the time to train someone to do this. they don't have the time or the money to train someone, so these jobs will not go to 'local' workers. they will be imported. the wages from the transient workers will not go to businesses in this area, they will go to wherever their homes are located. preston phillips has stated that 80% of the permenant jobs will be imported, so we are talking about jobs for 350  people. is this a large influx? no!. who is going to wait 3-4 years for a job that is paying $20-30 per hour? the unemployment rate in this area is 4-5% and that isn't any higher than normal is it? this is all hope on a wing and a prayer and it isn't going to happen. once again, this is not about money it is about health of the citizens who live here.

Monday, January 18, 2010

what does the future hold?

January 20th, 2010

What does the future hold?

Hyperion was quoted in the paper last week as saying ‘shovels in the ground in 2011’. I want everyone to stop and think about that statement for a minute. Do you know what that means when they say shovels in the ground? That means that all the buildings, trees and fences must be removed to make way for the refinery. (I refuse to call it Hyperion anymore). All the farms in the area - - gone - - .

Take a drive around the area where the refinery is going to be put in and lock it away in your memory, because when they start it will be total devastation. Farms will be pushed to the ground and burned. This will be worse than Sherman’s march through Georgia. The land will continue to be farmed until it is needed for a concrete pad or an asphalt pad, and then it will be razed as well. Trees will be uprooted. Wetlands will be destroyed. Yes, they can destroy a wetland provided they rebuild the same amount of land somewhere else. The area as we know it will cease to exist. If that doesn’t make you sick to your stomach, nothing will. It is an absolute travesty that this be allowed to happen. All this for the sake of ‘economic development’.

What a sad development this will be. 3000 acres of some of the finest cropland in the state of South Dakota will go under the knife. And for what? Because some ‘oilman’ came in here and pulled a ‘slick Willie’. What ever happened to scruples? What ever happened to having decency for your neighbor? All this for the sake of the almighty dollar. What a shame.

This is what might happen folks if we don’t do something. I don’t know what it is we have to do, but something has to be done or this county will go to hell in a hand basket. Think of the ramifications for our health in the event this were to ever happen (which I don’t think will happen by the way)…do you think the refinery would give a hoot if someone were to get sick because of the dirt they will be spewing? Not on your life they won’t. We are what is called collateral damage. You will have sacrificed your life and well being so that someone out there can fill their tank with gas. Is that a tradeoff or what?? Is it worth it? Could the same thing have been done by using renewable energy?

Think of our cost of building an infrastructure so that the refinery can have the pleasure of sending money to Texas. I could go on and on, but you have heard this from me so many times it probably isn’t worth reading anymore.

This will be the first time in my life my money has been spent without my consent to build something I don’t approve of. Is that an oxymoron or what?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I can't believe it, I just can't believe it.

<$BlogMetaData$>January 13th, 2010

I can’t believe it, I just can’t believe it!

I don’t know why I should be surprised, but last Saturday’s Argus Leader headline was all about Hyperion promising to begin construction on the refinery. Shovels in the ground by 2011. I sent an email to the reporter that wrote the article asking the same questions I’ve been asking for almost 3 years. I mentioned that Hyperion has not refuted these claims and that nobody has yet proved me wrong on my assertions that Hyperion cannot possibly pull this off.

I asked why if Hyperion is truly coming here they are still just paying for options on the land. Unless they intend to sell the land, they could have started construction the day after the air permit was approved. This tells me that they don’t have the money to buy the land and can’t find investors willing to buy it. They released 6000 acres last year and must either buy the land or renegotiate the options this year. Renewing the option is not an option they can afford.

I mentioned again that they still don’t have a contract with anyone in Canada to provide them with tar sands. Better yet, Canada is putting restrictions on companies building up there by charging a tax on any new company that cannot meet emission standards set by the government of Canada. So this means that there will be fewer companies going into the tar sands business, which is restricting the number of companies that Hyperion can do business with. Does one get the feeling that we are beating our heads against the wall here? Does anyone know how long TransCanada has been working to get the pipeline through the state? I remember getting a postcard in the mail a few years ago announcing that they were coming through SE South Dakota and were having a informational meeting about the pipeline. Where did that end up – going through Yankton. I guess Hyperion is going to start construction on the same premise of ‘field of dreams’. Build it and they will come. Yeah right.

I reminded him that 5 refineries were shut down last year, including a 200,000 barrel per day refinery in Delaware owned by Valero. The other 145 refineries are cutting back to only 60-70% production capacity and Hyperion thinks this is a good time to get started? You’ve got to be kidding me. Who in their right mind would invest with a dinky company like Hyperion who touts this huge monstrosity when everyone else in the business is wondering if they are going to survive? No wonder they are having a tough time getting investor capital.

Here is a real good quote by Preston Phillips. Refining oil is still profitable at $60 per barrel. What a bunch of hooey (synonym for crap). On many occasions over the last 2 years Preston has been quoted that it is not economically feasible if oil falls below $90 a barrel. Now it is down to $60. So much for their honesty and straight forwardness huh? Hello-o-o-o!

Why does the hair stand up on the back of my neck every time Hyperion opens their mouth anymore? Is it because they are still trying to convince us that this is happening or is it to continue to convince themselves that this is real? I’ll bet the folks in Elk Point that invested in this project are about ready to poop their panties. This is like the bluff in a Texas Hold-Em game only they can’t keep a straight face. The worst of this is that they have said it so much they are beginning to believe it.

One thing that really bothers me about this whole deal is that reputable papers like the Argus Leader print this story and don’t check their facts. This is pure psycho-babble. If one were to talk to actual oil refiners, I think they will tell you that Hyperion is just a teeny tiny pebble in the industry. Kind of like an itch you can’t scratch if you know what I mean. They bother the heck out of you and don’t know which way is up. Why don’t you just go away and quit bothering me.

Exxon Mobile lost $203 million dollars last quarter. Valero lost $459 million. Production is down, investors are taking a hike and Hyperion wants to build. This is why Al Huddleston is the huge success that he is. Enough said.

Have you seen the new ‘No’ Hyperion signs? If you don’t have one, give Ed Cable a call. You know, with all this crappy weather we are having , this would be a good time to sit down and write a nice letter to your county commissioners and tell them what you think about Hyperion.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Hyperion techno-babble

The Saturday article in the Argus Leader deserves a pointed response. I cannot believe that they would print unsubstantiated facts just because a company executive speaks techno-babble. They need to check the facts to see if what Hyperion is saying is in fact the truth and not a bunch of propaganda. I have been saying for 3 years that this is a hoax and nobody has yet proved me wrong. I will ask a few questions and please take the time to research the answers with credible 3rd party sources.

1) Where will the oil come from and at what cost? TransCanada has already said that none of their tar sands is slated for Hyperion. It is costing TransCanada $4 Billion just to build the pipeline and all 500,000 barrels are spoken for by Conoco Phillips. They are destined to the Port Arthur Texas refinery that is upgrading to 400,000 barrel a day capacity which, by the way, is already funded.

2) Hyperion has stated that they will build their own pipeline. This process in itself with all the permits and easements (eminent domain) will take 2 – 5 years. Then you have to find somebody to build it.

3) Hyperion is a Real Estate Development company. They have a net worth of less than $75 Million dollars according to Dun & Bradstreet. How in the name of God can some company with that structure even dream of building a $10 Billion (2007 dollars) refinery? They do not have the money, expertise, manpower or anything else to undertake such a venture.

4) It will take many hundred people 2-4 years just to draw blueprints, take surveys and do geological studies. The company that will be the general contractor needs lead time to ask for bids to build the pipelines and the refinery equipment itself. You don’t just call and order off the shelf the equipment you need. Anyone that has been in this process knows that there will be reviews, studies, bids and elimination of high bidders for this. this is not something that is done in 6 months or a year.

5) Hyperion has not said they are coming yet. If you ask them today they will say we are a finalist for the site. If they were coming why wouldn’t they buy the land instead of still having it for options? They are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on options when that could be used for the purchase. That means they are having trouble getting investor capital for this project.

6) Ask any reputable oil company who Hyperion is and what is the chance of them building a refinery when nobody else in the business can do it? They will tell you that Hyperion is just a small fish in a big pond.

7) Once they start the refinery they will have to find a way to get the product out of here. That means pipelines because there will be many products leaving the area. According to their statements, this will consist of gasoline, diesel, hydrogen, jet fuel, oh and don’t forget they are going to use IGCC which means they have to build a pipeline just for the CO2 because it cannot be sequestered in this area.These questions have been asked since the first public meeting 3 years ago and not one question has been answered. Why does the Argus Leader continue to print statements from Preston Phillips when he doesn’t have the facts to back up his statements?

There is an old statement in spewing propaganda. Tell a lie long enough and it becomes the truth.