Clay Rural Water Says No to Hyperion

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.


7 responses

  1. Holy cow! Did the good guys actually win? I’m so used to big industry beating down the little guy, I’m actually wondering if there’s some catch, some trick up someone’s sleeve. But until someone provides evidence to the contrary — wow!

    Thanks for the story, Rebecca. Such good news. You didn’t happen to get a cell phone video of the vote and the ovation, did you?

  2. No, sorry. I think some of the folks standing around me were weirded out enough that I was tweeting. I had the message half typed while they were calling the role. That woud’ve been awesome, though.

  3. Woo-Hoo!…the lawyer was mike mcgill from beresford…mark meierhenry from hyperion was in the audience. he was sitting near the back with the red jacket on. i’m sure he reported back. i was happy that the vote was unanimous. thats one for the good guys..thanks for being there rebecca..

  4. WOW!! finally there is some good news and support! I wish I could have been there for the elation after the frustration of BM&E hearings .Tom and I are in Colorado for the winter, but are keeping a watch on the happenings. Thanks for the update.

  5. Actually maybe you should have read some of Hyperions earlier releases where they said they intend on using there own wells to draw the water they need. Sorry Ed Cable but this was really a very small insignificant deal overall because Hyperion has no intention of using Clay rural water. To bad but at least a few of you momo’s fighting the refinery can make bigger idiots or yourselves now.

    ***admin note: e-mail address on this comment is from “Eric Newburn.”

  6. If Hyperion didn’t want Clay Rural Water, why did it repeatedly send letters asking for it, instead of just asking up front for Clay Rural to sign a release form?

    Clay Rural Water took this seriously, and at the very least, had to have spent some staff time looking into it. If this was just a ruse by Hyperion when it had other plans, it should send Clay Rural a check to compensate for the wasted staff time.

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