Wednesday, June 4, 2008
With much of the domestic politics in the nation addressing plans for a future with less oil (such as the big climate change bill now pending before Congress) and efforts to develop energy from sources other fossil fuels, energy companies are finding it more difficult to get land use approval for expanded fossil fuel facilities. But while companies know that it’s good to talk “green,” they also realize that America’s demand for fossil fuels is not going to diminish significantly anytime soon. And not all places in America object to the idea of a new fossil fuel facility.
The big news in South Dakota today is that citizens in Union County (in the southeast corner of the state) voted to approve a land use plan to rezone a rural area to allow the construction of a large new oil refinery. A news report suggested that voters from the suburbs of Sioux City, Iowa, tended to vote in favor of the change (and the prospect of new jobs), while voters in rural areas (whose jobs are tied more closely to farming) tended to vote against it. The report also stated that it would be the first new refinery built in the United States in 30 years. Not only are South Dakota voters more likely to accept such a facility than are voters in other regions, but the refinery would be close to old fields in Canada, which is the United States’ largest source of imported oil –- a link that could, somewhat ironically, strengthen as global warming makes arctic oil sources more accessible …