In a unanimous decision that brought a standing ovation from the tightly-packed crowd, Clay Rural Water System’s Board of Directors voted to “respectfully deny” Hyperion’s request for fronting infrastructure costs and supplying the oil refinery project with 9-12 million gallons of water per day.
H and I nabbed the last parking spot in the icy lot at Clay Rural Water’s Wakonda headquarters and walked in just as Board Chair Craig Nelson arranged to move the Hyperion discussion up the agenda so that the crowd, assembled to hear the outcome of their vote, could disperse.
Doug Maurstad, Jerry Wilson, and Harry Scholten gave testimony against Hyperion’s request. I asked if my testimony would be heard (I am registered as an operator on a farm where I use rural water), but because my name isn’t on the bill, my request was respectfully denied. Oh, well.
What I would have said is basically what the lawyer present for Clay Rural Water said–this corporation is a cooperative, and exists to serve the needs of its members–not heavy industrial projects like the Hyperion Refinery.
The lawyer (whose name I did not catch) further stated that denial of the request could cause some issues for CRWS simply because of the ability for some other provider to encroach on CRWS’s territory–it put the Board in an awkward position. It was suggested by the board that the letter to Hyperion be drafted to indicate that the rejection did not indicate an unwillingness to serve residential or business customers in the area.
The Board recessed after the vote and the standing ovation to allow some time for people to visit and then disperse. And then there were a lot of smiling faces and hand shaking and hugs in that room.
Hyperion decided not to send representation to the meeting–perhaps because they knew that their request was a bit beyond the pale or perhaps because they have other plans already.
But I really wish Preston Phillips had been there to see it and report back to his Dallas cronies–to see that Hyperion hasn’t been able to utterly divide this community and quash our resistance. It felt good to finally win one–good enough to recharge us for the rest of the fight.