There was such an interesting article in the SCJ last week that I just have to put in my 2 cents worth. The name of the article was ‘Coal-fired power plant blamed for dead zone.’
The article is written about Bastrop, Texas. It seems that the coal-fired power plant and the sulfur dioxide emissions from this plant has killed or is killing all the pecan trees around the plant. DUH!
Now get this, the environmentalists and scientists believe the culprit is the power plant is Bastrop, but the plant’s operators and the state environmental regulator deny sulfur dioxide pollution is the cause. (Does this sound familiar?) Evidence gathered from the Appalachian Mountains to New Mexico suggest otherwise. Sulfur dioxide kills vegetation, especially pecan trees. Are these coal plants burning pet coke for fuel? Could this happen here as well?
Pecan growers in Albany, Georgia have received millions of dollars in an out-of-court settlement with power plants whose sulfur dioxide emissions harmed their orchards. Texas has 19 coal-fired power plants and 4 more are planned. In each area where this phenomenon of dying pecan trees is reported, guess what? There is a coal fired power plant nearby. I won’t go into the description of the areas, except that one orchard used to have 200,000 lbs of pecans a year and now it is down to 8,000. All his trees are dead or dying. The man who owns the orchard says that everything around him is dead, dead, dead. Will Hyperion do this for the farmers here when crops suffer? DUH NO!
I sympathize with those people down there, but if this is happening to trees, what is happening to the people. I wonder if there are increases in cancer or lung diseases as well. Let’s fast forward to Union County. Nay-Sayers around here say this won’t happen here. Look at Port Neal, there isn’t any problem with pollution from that coal plant. I disagree with that statement, because there are increased cases of cancer in that area as well as increases in lung related diseases.
I was listening to Sam Clovis on KSCJ talk radio the other day and he had somebody on there talking about the positive impact Hyperion is going to have on the Siouxland area. I called back on Thursday and got my 2 cents worth in with Sam. I reminded Sam that since Hyperion started this fiasco back in 2006 that Hyperion has not bought even 1 acre of ground. Hyperion still has not said that Union County is the place where the refinery will be built. I asked 4 questions back in early 2007 that still have not been answered by Hyperion. 1) Where is the oil coming from? 2) How will it get here? 3) How will it get out of here? And 4) where is the money coming from? These questions have never been answered.
Just for the record, Eric Williams who is the spokesman for Hyperion says that they will build a ‘bullet’ line from Canada direct to Hyperion HEC. What a load of crud. That would take them 7 years or more to get done. North Dakota or some other state would have to agree to let them run a pipeline and the United States would have to sign a treaty with Canada to let the petroleum cross the border. Of course, it will be a slam dunk for them to get approval from Round’s clone Daugaard. TransCanada says that they are at maximum production of 1 million barrels a day. That is all going on Keystone and XL. There is nothing left for Hyperion. Mr. Huddleston said build it and they will come.
Preston Phillips and Dick White have both said that 2012 is the new target date because it just isn’t economically feasible to build right now with the country the way it is. Baloney, they can’t get any financial backing that’s why.
Preston Phillips is on record 4 years ago saying that it would be profitable to refine tar sands when the price got to $70 a barrel, and we held our breaths that it wouldn’t happen. Well it is now at $95 a barrel and it still is on hold. The one thing that happens when the price of oil goes up is that the price we pay at the pump goes up as well. We are paying $3.00 per gallon now and they are predicting $5.00 by the first part of the summer. And where is Hyperion. They are nowhere to be found. One thing about the price of oil going up, we get to pay for it before and after it gets refined. Remember when they are talking about being profitable, it is for Hyperion NOT Union County.
Sulfur dioxide isn’t the only thing to worry about. Do you remember back when they were having public hearings on the refinery When Hyperion was having public hearings I was at one of the meetings when people were talking about their concerns with the high amount of water being used each day. I asked a Mr. Davis Ford, who was the water expert from Texas A & M, why they don’t buy the Seburn gravel pit and just recycle the water. He replied that they cannot recycle the water because it is too corrosive for use in the pipes at the refinery. That was the end of the conversation. I have thought about this many times, why did we let this go. If the water is too corrosive to be recycled into the refinery, why is it okay for us to use it? I think we screwed up on this issue. Too soon old, too late smart.
People who believe that we will get cheap gas when the refinery comes in should reread the article I had in around the middle of December when I showed the price we are paying here and the price they are paying at the refinery in El Segundo. I wonder if Rounds knows about this. Again, gas is a commodity and it goes to the highest bidder. If you want to have plenty of gas for the fall harvest, you’re going to have to bid for it and then you will have gas running out your ears. Look again at how many refineries are shut down and how many are running at only 60-70% capacity. WELL DUH!