No Hyperion means Union Co. misses out on millions - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

No Hyperion means Union Co. misses out on millions


Without Hyperion's $10 billion oil refinery, Union County, South Dakota will miss out on millions in property tax revenue. That looks more likely now, after company officials say they've let land-purchase options expire on all of the acres meant for the refinery.

And, late Tuesday, a Hyperion spokesman admitted the company doesn't have options on any other land in South Dakota.

Hyperion says their refinery would bring a list of benefits to southeast South Dakota; more U.S. energy independence, 400,000 barrels of crude oil a day, 1,800 permanent jobs, and millions in new property tax revenue. 

"Our initial thoughts were, if something like this were to happen, the financial boom to the school district would be tremendous," said Elk Point-Jefferson Superintendent Brian Shanks.

Shanks says the refinery would have a taxable value around $4 billion. He's couldn't give specifics, but says Elk Point-Jefferson's tax revenue would be "way more than they would need."

"We could use that money, bring on some new programs, pay our teachers a little bit better, and perhaps get to the point where we are able to build," said Shanks.

Shanks says they're not counting on that money, though, and haven't for years. He says the district lost enthusiasm as the project was pushed back by permit issues and more. He doesn't know what to think now.

"We really have no control over this situation. We are just going to wait and see," said Shanks.

Chair of the Union County Commissioners Doyle Karpen says the refinery would've sent about $10 million in tax dollars to the county annually. He says, like the district, they too haven't counted on collecting it.

"It is what it is, like I've been telling everybody. If it happens we were going to have to deal with it. If it doesn't happen, our life will move on as it is," said Karpen.

Hyperion officials have said, the expired land options don't mean the project is canceled. Spokesman Eric Williams said in a statement Monday the company is "evaluating our various options and opportunities."

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