The South Dakota chapter of Sierra Club on Friday launched the first installation of a new media campaign, with the hope of discrediting backers for the proposed Hyperion Energy Center.
In an email, Peter Carrels, a spokesman for the environmental organization described the effort, dubbed "Hyperion Hype," as a periodic communication to "identify and expose misleading, incorrect and questionable statements" used by supporters of the $100 billion refinery and power plant planned for rural Union County.
In its first installment, the Sierra Club takes aim at public figures who cite national security as a key reason for supporting the Union County project. Because Hyperion would process heavy crude from Alberta, Canada, it would reduce America's reliance on other foreign imports.
The Sierra Club points out South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard was one of the latest to make such an argument, during his appearance at last week's Tri-State Governor's Conference in Sioux City.
"We recognize, more and more, that troubles in the Middle East make our dependence on Middle Eastern oil more precarious than ever... and the need for our national security to have a supply of oil from a neighbor," the South Dakota governor told the audience at the forum, sponsored by the Siouxland Chamber of Commerce.
Sierra Club leaders argue that continuing to mine and refine Alberta's tar sands crude would have just the opposite effect. To help make their case, the club cites retired Army Gen. Steven Anderson, who has extensive oil sector experience, including organizing and safeguarding military fuel convoys and other energy-related responsibilities during the Iraq in 2006 and 2007.
In its news release, the Sierra Club highlights excerpts of Anderson's opt-ed piece this week in the Hill, a national newsource that covers the federal government.
"Tar sands oil only maintains the status quo of directly and indirectly helping fund terrorists and rogue nations that want to kill Americans with our very own petrodollars. Hardly a benefit to our national security," Anderson is quoted as writing.
The Sierra Club notes that "although General Anderson's comments are directed most specifically at the Keystone XL pipeline, he also addresses the expansion of tar sands infrastructure, in general, and that includes the proposed Hyperion refinery."