by Julie Ann Madden
Time ran out for Hyperion Refining LLC’s land options Aug. 31.
On that date Hyperion officials were to have made an annual land-option payment to landowners owning land in the Hyperion Energy Center footprint.
Just prior to the deadline, Hyperion officials asked the landowners to give them a 30-day extension on that payment and to renegotiate the land option agreements, which were not set to expire until Aug. 31, 2013.
One Hyperion approach was to allow for the timing of the land options to be linked to the conclusion of legal challenges to Hyperion’s permits, according to an Aug. 24 Hyperion press release.
According to Hometowner sources, at least three of the landowners, who had optioned their land for the oil refinery project, did not agree to a 30-day extension. Furthermore, Hyperion officials did not make the annual payment as per the land option agreements, thus, terminating these land options.
“We’re just done,” said a landowner. “We’re tired of the project.”
Opponents speculate Hyperion may have lost about 500 acres out of its 4,500-acre footprint.
“It’s a pretty good-sized hole in the middle,” said one opponent who preferred to remain anonymous. “There is no way to fix that.”
“It’s been six years,” the person added. “What I smell on the wind is dead Gorilla.”
Hyperion Spokesperson Eric Williams told The Akron Hometowner in a phone interview Monday they do not comment on anything in regards to dealings with any specific landowners.
“We’re proceeding,” said Williams, noting Hyperion officials have acknowledged they may have trouble meeting the March 15, 2013 construction deadline. “We’re still aiming for March 15 but we’re exploring all our opportunities.”
“We are, for example, examining the prospect of looking at another extension of the air permit,” said Williams.
On Oct. 3, the South Dakota Supreme Court has scheduled a hearing on the appeal of state’s Board of Minerals & Environment’s decision on Hyperion’s air permit. Oral arguments will begin at 10 a.m. at the University of Sioux Falls’ Jeschke Fine Arts Center in Sioux Falls, S.D.