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Does SD Really Need an Oil Refinery?

June 13, 2011

YANKTON, S.D. - The U.S. is now exporting more oil and petroleum products than it is importing, according to the latest reports from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. For Peter Carrels of the Sierra Club in South Dakota, that calls into question the necessity of a new oil refinery proposed for Union County.

Carrels wonders if it is in the best interests of the region and the nation to build another refinery when, during the month of February this year, the U.S. exported 54,000 more barrels than were imported, and the federal government says it's a long-term trend.

"I think it's a very valid question to ask. Is South Dakota willing to trade the sort of pollution problems that are going to come along and accompany a development of this scale, to provide finished petroleum products for overseas markets?"

Hyperion Resources has air-quality permits pending before state agencies to allow construction to begin on the $10 billion project. Carrels' group has opposed the project because of possible pollution. He says it's possible a network of pipelines would also be necessary to carry crude oil into, and finished products out of, the plant.

"I don't think its illogical to think that Hyperion could very possibly be hooked into a system of pipelines that would take its product to the Gulf coast, and to tankers that would haul it over to Asian or other overseas markets."

Hyperion Resources has said it would employ up to 3,500 people during construction of the plant, and about 1,600 full-time workers.

Jerry Oster, Public News Service - SD