Refinery critics "glad" that project is over - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Refinery critics "glad" that project is over


Even before we knew who was behind the project, which was known as "Gorilla" back then, local folks wondered how it would impact their lives. Now that the project has suffered its most serious setback to date, some critics say they knew this day would come.

Dale Harkness has lived in Union County for most of his 65-years... the last 15 in this house just a few hundred yards from land Hyperion had optioned... until Sunday. Dale Harkness, Elk Point, SD, said, "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. Dale Harkness, Elk Point, SD, said "If I have to build a chicken house, or a hog house, I would have had to have more than Hyperion."

Early on, that's why veteran economic developer Ed Cable balked at Hyperion's plans, or lack thereof. Ed Cable, Elk Point, SD says, "I didn't believe this was a feasible project." No financing, no infrastructure.. not even a pipeline to get the oil to the refinery from Canada. Ed Cable, Elk Point, SD says, "This is simply, in our opinion, after doing some research, the wrong site for a project that never made sense using tar sands oil to create refined products in South Dakota."

What did make sense was the possible economic impact. Thousands of jobs created during construction and plant operation. But, Cable says... Ed Cable, Elk Point, SD says, "...the majority of people never fully understood how few of the jobs would have resulted in local people who needed the job to gain employment. Many of the jobs would have gone to people coming in from the outside."

What's been clear to Cable from the start? Ed Cable, Elk Point, SD says, "The cost far outweighed the benefit." Harkness says so much has been lost already. And, now's not the time for critics to claim victory. Dale Harkness, Elk Point, SD, said, "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."

We tried to contact Hyperion spokesman Eric Williams to ask if the company has options on any other land in Union County, or in the state of South Dakota.

Williams hasn't responded.

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