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Hyperion Energy Center

An architect's rendering shows the proposed Hyperion Energy Center, a $10 billion oil refinery and power plant proposed for a rural site in Union County, S.D.

A South Dakota Circuit Court Judge promised Thursday to rule soon on an appeal related to the proposed Hyperion Energy Center, "South Dakota judge asked to throw out Union County oil refinery permit."

At a hearing in Pierre, attorneys for three groups opposing the 400,000-barrel-per-day refinery and power plant argued a state environmental board last fall erred in issuing an air quality permit. Assistant Attorney General Roxanne Giedd, representing the Board of Minerals and Environment, defended the decision.

After hearing testimony from both sides, Judge Mark Barnett said he  will rule on whether the board applied the law correctly or made any clear errors in assessing facts in the permit, according to a Associated Press story. Barnett said he will issue a decision soon because he knows the case will be appealed to the S.D. Supreme Court.

The air permit, originally approved by the Minerals board in August 2009, was amended last September to reflect new rules related to the federal Clean Air Act. The revised permit also extended the deadline for starting construction until March 2013.

If the state courts accept the opponents' arguments and throw out the permit, Hyperion could be forced to restart the laborious application process. That could put in jeopardy the long-awaited project, which the Texas-based company first announced in the summer of 2007.

 

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