The Hyperion refinery is kaput.
In August, Hyperion started withholding annual payments andÂ dropping land options in Union County, where it intended to build a tar sands oil refinery.Â Now on the eve of arguing for an air-quality permit before the South Dakota Supreme Court, Dallas-based Hyperion has let expire all 5,000 acres of its Union County land options. In other words, Hyperion now doesn't have a South Dakota pot to pee in.
Big Oil backer and Union County Commissioner Doyle Karpen says he doesn't get why Hyperion would bail. Hyperion may finally be admitting that it was all talk and no viable business plan, an argument for which I've been reporting evidenceÂ since 2008.
Union County resident and refinery opponent Dale Harkness isn't surprised, either:
"I knew it was over, but I knew it was over 3 years go" That's when Harkness said Hyperion repeatedly failed to produce specifics of its plan to build the first new U.S. refinery in more than 30-years... or a plan to pay for it. Harkness said, "If I have to build a chicken house, or a hog house, I would have had to have more than Hyperion" [Matt Breen, "Refinery Critics 'Glad' That Project Is Over," KTIV, October 1, 2012].
However, the hard feelings Hyperion caused keep Harkness from celebrating Hyperion's retreat:
Harkness says so much has been lost already. And, now's not the time for critics to claim victory. "There's no winners in this. It ruined the county, the neighborhood, and friendships. It's a bad deal, and I'm glad to see it done" [Breen, 2012.10.01].
Harkness isn't the only one who has seen Union County friendships killed by Hyperion's gamble. But at least some of the best farmland in South Dakota has been saved for future generations.