Sunday, February 6, 2011

Who's to blame

<$BlogMetaData$>Who’s to blame?

I think Hyperion and the state DENR are playing a game of cat and mouse. Just when one thinks they have heard everything about the proposed Hyperion center, something new crops up. I don’t know who to blame; the state, the press, Hyperion or all three.

There was a press release from Hyperion or DENR talking about Hyperion having to add 4 preheaters to their refinery process to become compliant with the new EPA standards for GHG (greenhouse gasses) and the fact that they wanted this process to be confidential because the methodology used is proprietary and could be used by other companies in the industry. This is a very competitive market stated Hyperion and they want to keep it under their hat. (a really teeny tiny one) I’ve never heard such hokum in my life and really got upset that these guys are playing games.

Then I went to the DENR website just to check things out and lo and behold this conversation between DENR and Hyperion has been going on since last September or October. Initially DENR wanted Hyperion to add 21 pre-heaters. They bartered back and forth and Hyperion finally said they would add 4 heaters to the 9 already in the plans. Nobody in the press reported accurately what has been going on. The way it comes out in the paper is that Hyperion agreed to add 4 more preheaters at a cost of $18 million out of the goodness of their heart and said that anything more would not be cost effective. Now here comes the good part. It was DENR, not Hyperion that figured out what the savings would be. Who is building this thing DENR or Hyperion? My thoughts are that Hyperion comes up with this goofey idea for a refinery and cuts and pastes a bunch of gobbledygook in a paper then lets DENR do all the math which saves Hyperion the work because they don’t have the expertise nor manpower to do this anyway. They just go with the flow. DENR isn’t that much better, but at least it gives them something to do.

Preston Phillips said that “Hyperion is constantly looking for ways to reduce the carbon footprint and to improve the efficiency of the refinery.” Oh really Preston. If you are looking for ways to reduce the footprint then install what the state and the EPA is asking for. When you are in the $10-12 BILLION dollar range for building something, what is another $25-50 million dollars when it will ensure the safety of the surrounding community and reduce the carbon footprint AND improve the efficiency of the refinery? They say you can always tell when a Norwegian is telling the truth, because the snoos will run out of both sides of his mouth not just one. No Norwegians at DENR or Hyperion.

Another thing that bothers me about Hyperion asking that this information be kept confidential is that by making it public, they would be giving away trade secrets. Oh come on now, how can somebody that has never done anything keep trade secrets? Just because a new refinery hasn’t been built in the last 36 years doesn’t mean people have been sitting around picking their noses. I would bet that the rest of the industry is laughing so hard it makes them cry. The only trade secret I can see here is where Hyperion is going to get their $10 Billion dollars.

By the way, adding the preheaters still doesn’t bring them under the standard, it just brings them back to the 900 tons of carbon dioxide they ‘forgot’ to add to their totals from before. Adding 4 preheaters will just change the amount of methane emissions by about 475-480 tons. When you are emitting 16 tons of GHG annually, this is a pittance. (16 tons of #9 coal and whadda get? Another day older and deeper in debt (Tennessee Ernie Ford). And we are supposed to think Hyperion is the greatest thing since crunchy peanut butter now. Get Real!

If you will remember, Hyperion was to have to start building by February 20th, 2011 or start the process all over again. Hyperion did ask for and received an extension until August 2012. I can see why now. The other thing is that they have to file with the Board of Minerals and Environment by the 25th of February 2011 to keep the information confidential. They must explain why revealing this information to the public would be harmful for Hyperion. Sounds very professional doesn’t it? You can bet your bottom dollar that the verdict will be 9-0 before they even sit down to discuss it. You must remember that Governor Rounds supported this and said he would move heaven and earth to ensure this happens. You don’t think Governor Daugaard won’t act in the same fashion? There might have been an election in November, but all that really happened is that there was just a shuffle of personnel. Nothing changes, and you can be assured that the state of South Dakota has sunk into this up to their eyeballs and it is too late for them to back out at this point of the juncture.


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