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County: Still No Answer from EPA on Hyperion Project

November 11, 2009

VERMILLION, S. D. - Until last month, no government body or agency had requested an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed Hyperion Energy Center, a huge oil refinery planned for Union County. Representing Union County's next-door neighbors, the Clay County Commission has made a written request to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Commissioner Jerry Wilson says several weeks have passed, however, and they have yet to receive a response.

While the project could mean jobs that are sorely needed in the area, Wilson says government leaders and citizens also need to know the downsides of having a refinery in the region before they proceed.

"I think that we citizens just need as much information as possible, the kind that only an Environmental Impact Statement would deliver to us."

Wilson says the Clay County Commissioners have asked for the EPA's help because they wonder how they can plan for the refinery without detailed information about its potential impact on roads, bridges, schools, police and fire protection. In Hyperion's air permit application, Wilson notes, the company lists vast quantities of pollutants that would be emitted.

"Even though they advertise it as 'green,' it really is anything but green. It would actually pollute more CO2 per barrel than any existing refinery in the United States."

The company claims that, when is in operation, the proposed refinery and power plant will rank among the cleanest, most environmentally-friendly in the world.

Dick Layman, Public News Service - SD