I just found this really good article from Matt Vasilogambros in the Iowa Independent about the proposed Hyperion refinery in Elk Point. Apparently the thus-far pipe-dream-only project is sparking more disagreement between Iowa's gubernatorial candidates than between South Dakota's.
On our side of the Big Sioux River, both Republican Dennis Daugaard and Democrat Scott Heidepriem have said they support the refinery (Scott! Come on!) but have doubts about whether it will come to fruition. But in Iowa, Governor Chet Culver and challenger (and former governor) Terry Branstad appear to stake out opposing ground on the refinery. Branstad says environmental concerns expressed by the Sierra Club and Iowa's former Department of Natural Resources chief Richard Leopold are just bunk that stand in the way of economic development. Governor Culver's team responds that jobs are priority #1 but that the state still needs to protect the environment. Culver likens Branstad's position on Hyperion to the same pro-corporate thinking that led Branstad to open his state to huge polluting hog operations and the unhealthy DeCoster egg operations. (Worth noting:Branstad himself calls Jack DeCoster a rogue businessman.)
Vasilogambros also notes that Hyperion assures Iowans that they will get lots of the Hyperion jobs. (Does Hyperion provide a lesson for South Dakotans complaining about the Larchwood casino?) But Jim Redmond of the Northwest Iowa Sierra Club says that both Iowa and South Dakota will probably get the same bum deal from Hyperion that South Dakota got from TransCanada: Hyperion will import a lot of the labor it needs from other states.
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