A proposed $10 billion tar sands oil refinery near the South Dakota-Iowa border is causing a stir among political and environmental groups in both states. If all goes as Hyperion plans, it will be the first tar sands refinery built in the U.S. since the 1970s.
Environmental groups argue that the crude tar sands oil is the dirtiest around, and the refinery would pose a huge threat to the land, air, and water supply in both states. Hyperion says it will use the greenest of technology – a notion loudly disputed by those who have critically examined the proposal
And politicians in both states in support of the plant argue that it will bring much-need jobs into the area.
The $10 billion refinery will be built in Elk Point, S.D., just 30 miles north of Sioux City. With the area’s wind patterns and flow of the nearby Missouri River, environmental activists are calling the proposed refinery potentially “devastating” to Iowans’ safety. Although the Texas-based Hyperion Refining LLC says the facility will create 10,000 jobs — many of which will go to Iowans, the company assures — the negative environmental impacts of the oil extraction from the tar sands is well-document, critics say.