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Hearings Open on Refinery Air Pollution Permit

July 25, 2011

PIERRE, S.D. - A contested case hearing on the Prevention of Significant Deterioration air permit issued by the State of South Dakota to Hyperion Resources for a new oil refinery begins this week in Pierre. The $10 billion refinery is proposed for Union County, in southeast South Dakota.

Peter Carrels with the South Dakota Sierra Club says that, even with a permit, the refinery will be a major source of air pollution.

"This permit, we don't feel, is going to adequately protect the citizens of southeastern South Dakota and the region around Hyperion. We don't have confidence that the State of South Dakota can regulate this refinery to protect citizens, and we don't think Hyperion can operate this refinery to protect citizens."

Hyperion predicts that the refinery would employ about 3500 people during construction, and have about 1600 full-time jobs once in operation. Carrels says state regulators should not choose jobs over environmental threats.

"We don't think that we need to develop our economy like this, and sacrifice public health at the same time. I think there are better ways to develop the economy than having these sorts of very severe public health threats from incredible amounts of pollution, that are inevitable, irrespective of whether or not this refinery is regulated."

Hyperion has requested an extension of their construction permit to August of next year. The South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources has received comments from over 350 individuals, businesses, governments and tribes on the Hyperion permit.

Jerry Oster, Public News Service - SD