I went to bed last night with an extra spring in my snore: Rebecca Terk of Flying Tomato Farms had just broken the news that Clay Rural Water System voted unanimously to reject Hyperion's request that CRWS supply up to 12 million gallons of water per day to Hyperion's proposed oil refinery near Elk Point. Supplying Hyperion would have required CRWS to tentuple its current 1.2 million gallon/day capacity. The dealbreaker, however, was Hyperion's Wimpy request that CRWS pay for the new water infrastructure today, with the promise that Hyperion would pay them back several Tuesdays from now.
Clay Rural Water's vote is an encouraging sign that not all South Dakotans can be driven to crazy, unsustainable actions by the wild promises of Big Oil. But it does not leave Hyperion high and dry. CRWS's nay may actually be just what Hyperion wanted. Hyperion didn't bother to send a rep to last night's meeting. The company actually provided CRWS with a model "Form of Intent Not to Serve"—when a corporation pays its lawyers to take time to write up a legal document for you, beware.
The denial statement, adopted by the CRWS board, says CRWS consents to Hyperion seeking water from other suppliers. This negates the possibility that CRWS could use federal regs to stop other suppliers from seeking Hyperion's water business. It could well be that Hyperion knew all along that CRWS lacked the resources to become a heavy industrial water supplier and just wanted to play a little CYA before it went seeking a biger aquifer-draining supplier.
But for now, Clay Rural Water customers can be happy that they won't experience a sudden drop in pressure in the shower if the Hyperion refinery ever fires up.
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