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Rounds Denies Own Bad Business Judgment, Says EPA Killed Hyperion

Last month Hyperion released its last 24 land options in Union County. Hyperion's proposed refinery near Elk Point has thus returned as fully to square one as possible.

The complete failure of the Hyperion project to get off the ground is mud in the eye of GOP Senate candidate M. Michael Rounds, who as Governor jumped in the tank early for the Texas dreamers' refinery plan. Now candidate Rounds is using the project's failure as an excuse to blow the EPA dogwhistle for his anti-government followers:

The Environmental Protection Agency's interference in the Hyperion oil refinery project is another example of how the federal government has been meddling in states' affairs, Rounds said.

"The EPA did everything it could to try and destroy that project just because it doesn't approve of using carbon-based fuel," he said. "Never mind that it would be a better, cleaner and more modernized facility than most that are already operating and that it would save a great deal of money in transportation costs" [Scott Feldman, "Rounds Prepares for U.S. Senate Run," Aberdeen American News, 2013.04.27].

Wait a minute. Rounds and Hyperion both said from the start that Hyperion was committed to meeting or exceeding the EPA's rules. The EPA took issue with some of Hyperion's paperwork, but it never moved to stop the refinery.

The EPA did not kill Hyperion. Hyperion killed Hyperion. Hyperion lacked the plan, the infrastructure, the market demand, and the investors (which we knew five years ago!). Businessman Mike Rounds backed a plan that never had a business case.

But Rounds need you to believe that he can make good decisions as your Senator. That's why he needs to fabricate bogeyman stories about the EPA to distract you from his own golf-course-crony-clouded judgment.


  1. Rorschach 2013.05.09

    If memory serves, the Keystone I pipeline runs right past the front door of the proposed Hyperion refinery, but all of the oil in the pipeline was spoken for. So Hyperion never had any arrangement to receive oil from anyone. That seems to me to be a big hole in the refinery business planning process which has nothing to do with the EPA. How were they going to get the oil to refine?

  2. John 2013.05.09

    Cory, thank you, again. Your two exceptional posts on May 9th, "Rounds Denies . . ." , and "Minnesota Blogger . . ." square the truth the SD main stream advertising press willfully ignores. Because the incurious SD media chooses to ignore the pursuit of the truth they are quickly making themselves irrelevant in the lives of South Dakotans.

    Rounds showed his flawed judgment in building his "house upon the sand", then having the gall to seek federal welfare bailing out his flawed judgment. Rounds' retort about Hyperion shows us his apparent unchanged flat-lined analysis and judgment. So sad.

  3. Roger Elgersma 2013.05.09

    Hyperion started out saying this was to be a green refinery. They reneged on their promise by not even writting and environmental impact statement. So Rounds trusted dishonest businessmen and then blames the government. He was the government, so who was he blaming.

  4. Douglas Wiken 2013.05.09

    Despite his name, Rounds would be a square peg in a round hole in Congress. He is flopping in the wind.

  5. Jana 2013.05.09

    Good business sense? Staking a signature project on a company with no experience, no money and no oil source certainly doesn't seem to back that up.

    It wasn't the EPA, the Sierra Club or any environmentalist that killed the was dead on arrival.

    Oh yeah, let's not use the word bogeyman and call the blame on the EPA what it is. A lie. A big bald faced lie.

  6. G-Man 2013.05.09

    Rounds is NOT the right person for the job of US Senator.

  7. Donald Pay 2013.05.09

    Rounds doesn't say what EPA did to cause the demise of Hyperion. I'd be curious to know what rules and regulations he thinks EPA should not have enforced in the permitting of this facility.

    When Rounds says EPA did "everything they could" to prevent a project, and then fails to list or describe one thing to illustrate his point, it pretty much tells you he's just bs-ing. I doubt anyone who doesn't want to be fooled is fooled, but it may make Rounds feel better about himself to lay the blame for his failures on someone else, I think we should just realize the man has a history of backing incredibly stupid projects (Lonetree, for example).

    It might be different if Rounds had a history of being responsible toward environmental matters, rather than a record of shirking this duty as a legislator and as governor. If he wants the state to have more responsibility, he should have been upgrading South Dakota's laws and beefing up its environmental enforcement. He wasn't a big supporter of states taking responsibility over anything to do with environmental protection, unless it was just to give his crony capitalist (and mostly out-of-state) buddies carte blanche to pollute.

  8. Rorschach 2013.05.09

    Hyperion was a wildcatting venture of sorts. I'm convinced that their plan from the beginning was to line up the land options and all the necessary permits and sell the venture to an oil company with deeper pockets. I don't think Hyperion ever had the intent to build the refinery, but rather to sell the permits for a profit. Rounds was probably hoping to finagle himself a lucrative spot on the board of directors for whichever oil company bought the rights to the project. As with any wildcatting scheme sometimes you win and sometimes you lose.

  9. Donald Pay 2013.05.09

    Rorshach is probably right. This seems to be the MO of many of these scams that Rounds and others have been tied to--Lonetree, Hyperion, Powertech. They are all very similar in that they are underfunded from the start and depend on a dimwitted and unprofessional and/or a completely corrupt state government to get their foot in the door.

  10. Jana 2013.05.09

    In the mean time...Iowa bolsters investment in wind farms...

    Oh...did you see what a Republican governor had to say?

    Wait...What...what was the governor's party affiliation that put it all in motion? Sorry...trick question.

    Did you see the # of jobs created? That's gonna cost them a pretty penny to have a Wisconsin company recruit them to move to Iowa...heck we know that price tag.

    But wait...wasn't that a Dem governor that fostered and promoted the original CIB investments? (Concentrated Intelligent Business) while we were chasing our tails and selling our souls to CFL's (concentrated feed lots) and empty suits selling refineries?

    Who were those's a hint...Google it. Spoiler alert! That same Dem governor was in office when Google moved to Iowa and wind farms became a reality.

    Heck Google even more than doubled down on their investment in Iowa in spite of the Hawkeye state's lower business favorability ranking than good old SD.

    So wind energy that will lower consumer costs, reduce damage to the environment and have a huge economic impact is being touted by an arch conservative GOP governor...funny,

    And to think it comes on the heels of Google announcing additional expansion of billions of dollars in Iowa.

    Now you just have to wonder what Mall they connected at to make the Google and wind billions flow to Iowa.

  11. alan 2013.05.09

    knew this would never happen....

  12. Rorschach 2013.05.10

    Your sarcasm makes me laugh, Jana.

  13. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.05.10

    Donald, do you know whether the EPA had any permitting authority over the refinery? The air permit was entirely in DENR's hands, wasn't it?

  14. Donald Pay 2013.05.10

    I haven't been in SD for 12 years, but I assume SD still has an MOU with EPA giving the state authority over air quality programs. Whether SD has up-to-date regualtions and someone trained up to permit and regulate such a facility is something that I don't know. The state air quality people dealing with particulate air pollution were competent, but too deferential to busniess, in my opinion. They pretty much carried water for industry on the PM 2.5 issue. I dealt with several other issues (coal plant permitting, incinerator permitting), and the state regulators were at least competent, even if they weren't very insistent on requiring the latest technology and practises. EPA has ultimate oversight in any case they decide the state is not regulating sufficiently, and if neither the state nor EPA do the job, citizen suits are allowed. It doesn't pay to shrik the permitting and enforcement, because citizens can allows have the last say.

  15. alan 2013.05.24

    heard that they are looking to put this hyperion buy morbridge

  16. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.05.24

    Really? Who's talking about that? Are Hyperion land agents working the Mobridge area?

  17. alan 2013.05.25

    my brother works for a big union crane company,,,and thats what he heard at they have to start all over again

  18. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.05.26

    Alan, I gotta have lunch with your union brother!

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