As has happened in many other areas of the country, the lawsuits are just beginning over the proposed Hyperion oil refinery that was approved by the voters of Union county. Many proposed solutions to reduce dependence on foreign oil, like the Hyperion refinery, get caught up in environmental lawsuits. In fact, should Hyperion get off the ground, it will be the first oil refinery built in the United States since 1976.
Increasing our refining capacity is crucial, as we are not even able to meet our gasoline needs with the current refining capacity of the country and actually have to import refined gasoline (not just crude oil). Currently, we pay foreign countries a premium for gasoline that we could be refining right here in South Dakota, with South Dakota workers.
The reality is that we are tied to oil for several years to come. Hyperion needs to be part of the all-of-the above option to our energy needs. As cellulosic ethanol is on the brink of becoming a viable option for fuels, combined with oil refining capacity and our vast wind energy resources, South Dakota could very well become a major supplier of the energy our nation so desperately needs…so let’s not rule out any options while we perfect the technology needed to move on to cleaner, domestic forms of energy and away from fossil fuels.