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Saturday, May 9, 2009

More Hyperion Propaganda on KELO: Corporate Media Boosts Business Buddies

Yesterday I suggested that the South Dakota media are biased toward Hyperion in their coverage of the proposed Elk Point refinery, leaving it to us bloggers to offer balance by covering the damage Hyperion threatens to do and the chicanery and cronyism they are using.

As if to make my point, KELO dispatches Ben Dunsmoor to trot out another Chamber of Commerce booster piece for Hyperion:

Hyperion Air Permit Could Bring Business

Later this month the South Dakota Board of Minerals and Environment will start the formal hearing for Hyperion's air permit. The Executive Director of the Vermillion Chamber of Commerce and Development Company says that permit may be the key that unlocks a boom of business in the area.

It may not be in Union County, but just a few miles outside of Vermillion developers are already buying up land in anticipation of the largest proposed project in the state of South Dakota.

"We're seeing a lot of preparation for growth," Steve Howe said [Ben Dunsmoor, "Hyperion Air Permit Could Bring Business," KELOLand.com, 2009.05.08].

Could bring business? It seems just as likely—more like, I would argue—that the permit could bring pollution, lung cancer, crime, traffic, and economic dependence on an unsustainable out-of-state industry. It is just as likely that a big polluting refinery that dominates the local labor market would drive away other businesses.

Oh well. That's what the alternative press is here for: to make sure you hear more than PR from the corporate board.


  1. Reader and Eastern SD neighbor Kelly Fuller e-mails this comment:

    "Steve Howe and the rest of the business community would be wise to wait for a lot more than an air permit before they sign any checks related to the proposed Hyperion Refinery. For starters, permits for an oil pipeline.

    "In April, I personally witnessed a TransCanada VP say that the Keystone pipelines would NOT provide oil to Hyperion and furthermore, the proposed Hyperion location made no sense. He explained that oil refineries need to be near a major metro area or near a place where the product can be shipped out widely (e.g., the Gulf Coast, where the XL would end). He was pretty emphatic about this.

    "He said this at a public hearing for Keystone XL last month."

    --Kelly Fuller

    Anyone from Hyperion care to explain the business model again?

  2. Cory,

    Many people are attracted to the idea of new jobs and economic growth that the Hyperion Refinery would bring, but I also feel that the disadvantages that you mention haven't ever been brought up by the main-stream media. Sure, in these hard economic times (ahhh), it's easy to approve something that will improve the economy and attract people to SD. But I wonder if people have considered the pollution, crime, traffic, etc. and how these long-term disadvantages will outweigh the short-term gain.

    Also, I'm really not supportive of prolonging the process of oil independency- whether it's from the Middle East, Canada or the US. But I know that's a hard argument to win.

  3. Short-term vs. long-term -- very good point, Kristen. It's hard to say no to promises of jobs... not to mention all the yummy land speculation Don Dunham gets to do. But that's all the more reason we should emphasize the dark and dirty side of these promises of economic development, especially the long-term effects.

  4. Cory:

    I go back and forth about the project. I know a refinery will bring good paying UNION jobs to Union County. But refineries are all stinky, noisy places.

    I think this will all be moot as Hyperion is the gang that can't refine straight. Unless Valero, ConocoPhillips, BP, Shell or one of the other major petroleum players gets involved, this is all just a oil pipe dream.

    Todd Epp
    SD Watch


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