A Texas company that's planning to build a $10 billion oil refinery, in southeast South Dakota, won a victory in court, Thursday.
The South Dakota Supreme Court upheld the approval of a key air quality permit needed to put Hyperion's refinery in Union County. In its 26-page decision, the court said the state's Board of Minerals and Environment wasn't wrong in approving an air quality permit for the Hyperion Energy Center.
The controversy centered on an environmental impact statement. Attorney's for Hyperion said it wasn't required to approve the permit. Opponents, like the Sierra Club, argued it was.
Both groups have sounded off on the decision.
In a press release, Hyperion Vice President Preston Phillips said, "We've said from the beginning this will be the cleanest, most environmentally sound refinery in North America, likely the world. The Supreme Court's decision affirms that."
Legal experts with the Sierra Club disagree.
"We are disappointed, but continue to believe that the project is very ill-conceived. We will continue to fight it," said the group's Legal Director Patrick Gallagher.
The court also ruled the air permit's expiration will be extended until March.
It all sounds like a big win for Hyperion, but maybe not. The March deadline doesn't give the Dallas-based company a lot of time to build.
To make matters worse, in an October interview with KTIV, the company admitted it had let their more than 5,000 acres of Union County land options slip away.
Vice President Phillips said, "We're going continue to talk with landowners. We hope to resolve any issues we have with real estate in the near future."
Critics claim a lot of that land has been sold off. They say it'll be difficult for Hyperion to continue. Hyperion hasn't commented about its land options since October.
Hyperion has said, if built, their oil refinery would be a big benefit to the area and the country. They say it'll process 400 thousand barrels of Canadian tar sands crude oil daily. Hyperion claims the plant will help reduce US dependence of Middle Eastern oil, and create 1,800 permanent Siouxland jobs.
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