The South Dakota Board of Minerals and Environment on Thursday set a July 25 hearing date for revisions to the air permit for the proposed Hyperion Energy Center in Union County, "Board sets July hearing on oil refinery request."

State Department of Environment and Natural Resources staff last month issued a draft permit that would extend the deadline for starting construction and change some air quality standards for the 400,000-barrel-per-day refinery and power plant. The state will continue to take comments on the draft through April 1.

A number of individuals and groups have already submitted letters to the DENR objecting to the proposed refinery. One of the latest to do so is the Winnebago Tribe, whose northeast Nebraska reservation is down the Missouri River from the refinery site, just north of Elk Point and west of Vermillion.

In the letter, the tribe cites a number of health and environmental concerns that could harm the health of its tribal members, its land, air and water, and fish and wildlife.

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The tribe said it is "extremely dismayed" neither the DENR nor Environmental Protection Agency has consulted with the tribe regarding the permitting and construction of the refinery.

The letter was signed by tribal chairman John Blackhawk, Anthony Wood, manager of the tribe's Environmental Protection Department, and Joseph E. Painter, III, the department's air quality specialist. Read the whole letter here.

As part of the revised permit, Dallas, Texas-based Hyperion Refining has asked that its state-imposed deadline to begin construction to be extended from Feb. 20 of this year to Aug. 20, 2012.

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