(ELK POINT, SD) - Last week, Hyperion Energy let options on thousands of acres of land in southeast South Dakota expire. That land was supposed to be the site of a multi-billion dollar oil refinery in Union County.
Reid Jensen owns farmland in the middle of the planned Hyperion project in Elk Point. He raises cattle and farms corn and soybeans. Reid explained what Hyperion's decision means for his business.
For the past seven years, Reid Jensen has taken care of his farmland in rural Elk Point raising cattle and growing crops. However, an energy company's plans put the future of his farmland at risk.
"This is kind of the border of where Hyperion was going to be down along this fence line and then it was going to go all the way west here. And they had roughly 6,000 acres optioned," explained Reid Jensen as he pointed to his farmland.
He was speaking in the past tense for a reason.
"They were supposed to pay us an option payment the last day of September and that never happened. They never exercised the options on the land," said Jensen. "Most of the landowners are thinking the project is dead."
With that decision. there's a weight off Reid's shoulders. It's very different from how he felt just a few weeks ago.
"I am a little relieved. I have a cattle operation here that I was going to have to move if they did come," expressed Jensen.
Reid raises a specific kind of cattle. They're called Wagyu cattle. He hopes his sons will eventually take over what he's started.
"I have two sons. I'm hoping maybe my younger will maybe farm. They both go to SDSU in Brookings. One's majoring in Ag. So we'll see if one of them will take over eventually," said Jensen.
Raising those cattle has been an easy transition from his former farming years.
"They are such an easy breed of cattle to work with. They're a very laid back kind of cattle. They're not wild," said Jensen with a smile.
Since the Hyperion project appears dead in the water to him and his neighbors, he can easily continue his work.
"I'm kind of happy because I still get to pursue my dream and have my cattle down here and I like that," said Jensen.
Hyperion insists the project isn't dead and it will put a land deal together again. The South Dakota supreme court is expected to make a decision on a lawsuit by the Sierra Club, which challenged the air permit for the Hyperion refinery.
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