THURSDAY 6-12-08…The last all-new oil refinery built in the United States was back in 1976 but that could be about to change. This nation’s first new oil refinery in 32 years has received voter approval in Union County South Dakota. The refinery will process 400,000 barrels of tar sands crude from Alberta, Canada into low sulfur gasoline, diesel and jet fuel.
By a vote of 58 percent to 42 percent, county voters approved rezoning 3,292 acres of farm land for a new classification; Energy Center Planned Development. Supporters of the project pointed to the once-in-a-lifetime economic opportunities the ten billion dollar project would bring. An average of 4,500 construction jobs, and once the refinery is up and running, the Hyperion Corporation pledges to create 1,825 full time jobs with hourly wages between $20 and $30.
So, everything went well on election night, and the champagne corks were popping — but as with any ballot measure, there were opponents. There were those who didn’t want an oil refinery in their county and they did their level best to defeat the measure.
Even in defeat they’re not giving up. Ed Cable, chairman of the anti-Hyperion group Save Union County said “We have strategies in place to slow or delay all the permit processes.”
So, billions of dollars in capital investment and thousands of high paying jobs? Doesn’t matter. The economic shot in the arm for the county and the state? Doesn’t matter. The first new refinery in 32 years? Doesn’t matter. The will of the majority? Doesn’t matter.
It’s environmental elitetists like that who turn to the courts, that will keep this country held hostage to middle east oil barons. So, will the new oil refinery be built? That remains to be seen, but my guess would be the environmentalists will find a kangaroo rat, or possibly Meadowfoam somewhere on that 3,000 acres, and we here in Butte County know what that means.
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