Finally, Some Rational Thinking in South Dakota
Investor's Business Daily: Thirty-two long years have passed since the U.S. had a new oil refinery. But a small South Dakota community wants to change that. Finally, some rational thinking.
Union County, home to 12,584 in South Dakota's southeastern corner, voted 58% to 42% Tuesday to approve a request by Hyperion Energy to build a refinery north of Elk Point, the county seat of 1,855. The facility, expected to turn out 400,000 barrels of ultralow-sulfur gasoline and diesel fuel a day, just might be the biggest thing to happen to the area.
As far as energy is concerned, it could be the biggest thing to happen to this nation since 1976, widely known as America's bicentennial year but less so as the date the last new oil refinery was built in the U.S. Since that refinery was built in Garyville, La., more than three decades ago, environmental groups have successfully bullied policymakers into blocking any new ones.
Meanwhile, America has gone from 301 refineries in 1982 to less than half that (149, see chart above). The refining process is far more efficient today, yet output hasn't kept pace with demand. As domestic oil consumption has increased from 17 million barrels a day in 1982 to nearly 21 million a day in 2007, the country now has to import 10% of the gasoline we burn. We just don't make enough.
Wonder no more why we've become so reliant on foreign crude to fuel our economy and have little choice but to do more business with unsavory characters than we should.
See previous CD post here on this topic.