Original story can be found on the Sioux City Journal website.
By Dave Dreeszen | Posted: Friday, September 25, 2009
As promised, opponents have gone to court to try to
overturn a state board's decision last month that awarded a key
environmental permit for a proposed $10 billion oil refinery and power
plant in Union County.
South Dakota Board of Minerals and Environmental voted unanimously Aug.
20 to grant Dallas, Texas-based Hyperion Refining an air quality
permit. Three opposition groups, the Sierra Club, Save Union County and
Citizens Opposed to Oil Pollution, recently appealed the ruling in
Hughes County Circuit Court in Pierre.
The plaintiffs do not
list grounds for an appeal in the one-page document. Robert Graham, a
Chicago attorney representing the three groups, said they would lay out
their case in subsequent court filings.
A circuit court judge is expected to set a schedule for legal briefs.
last month's hearing before the state Board of Minerals and
Environment, Graham and other opponents argued the state should deny
the permit because Hyperion had failed to prove its
400,000-barrel-a-day project would meet federal clean air regulations
or use the best available technologies. Opponents argued the refinery
and power plant would threaten the health of area residents by emitting
pollutants that include carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide
and fine particles.
A day after the three opposition groups
appealed the state board's decision, Hyperion filed its own appeal in
circuit court, although the company has not decided what, if any,
portions of the permit to appeal, according to Hyperion spokesman Eric
"We're still in the process of doing that,'' Williams wrote in an e-mail Thursday.
noted Hyperion decided not to appeal a state Department of Environment
and Natural Resources requirement to install additional pollution
controls for its hydrocarbon storage tanks. The thermal oxidizers will
cost the company an additional $30 million.
Hyperion issued a news release to trumpet its decision to accept the
oxidizers, which the company noted are not required on any other
refinery storage tanks in the country.
"We know some will say
it's going overboard because it's handling such a small amount of
vapor, but we agree with the state that it's the right thing to do to
protect the region's air quality,'' Hyperion executive Preston Phillips
said in Wednesday's statement.
The South Dakota Attorney
General's Office, which will defend the state Board of Minerals and
Environment during the appeals process, declined to comment Thursday.
expects to start construction in 2011 and begin operations in 2015. The
company has said an appeal would not delay the project.