Iowa House Republican Leader Kraig Paulsen is called on Gov. Chet Culver to rein in Richard Leopold, his appointed director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, and order him not to block an oil refinery that could creates jobs for Iowans.
Paulsen, who represents northern and western Linn County, said Leopold’s objections could scuttle plans for a $10 billion Hyperion Energy Center being constructed in southeast South Dakota – across the border from northwest Iowa where hundreds of jobs were lost when the John Morrell meatpacking plant closed.
The plant is projected to create 10,000 construction jobs, 1,800 permanent jobs and 5,400 spin-off jobs all ranging from $20 to $30 dollars per hour, Paulsen said.
“Last year Gov. Culver let Leopold spend his time killing the Alliant plant proposal in Marshalltown, a proposal that would have created thousands of jobs,” Paulsen said. “This year he seems to have his sights set on killing several thousand more jobs for Iowa.
“I’m calling on the governor to order Leopold to stand down and stop preventing new jobs for Iowans,” he said.
Culver, however, said it’s Paulsen and Republicans who are blocking job creation by opposing his $875 million I-JOBS program that has created slightly more than 7,000 jobs.
“We just wish Rep. Paulsen was as concerned with job creation in Iowa and his own legislative district as he is with job creation in South Dakota,” Culver said.
It’s Leopold who is “helping us protect the environment and create jobs with dozens of water quality projects” through I-JOBS, Culver said.
The governor also said the Marshalltown power plant was approved by the state, but it was Alliant’s decision not to build. Alliant decided not to build due to “economic conditions, uncertainly regarding future regulatory and legislative treatment of environmental issues,” according to an Alliant spokesman.
The company said the rate restrictions imposed by the state “present a number of challenges in today’s financial climate, and we are disappointed that this decision seemingly does not take that reality into account,” Tom Aller, president of Alliant’s Interstate Power & Light utility, said at the time.
The Hyperion plant has received federal permits in accordance with the Clean Air Act as well as South Dakota’s own Department of Environment and Natural Resources. However, Leopold has thrown up roadblocks for the Hyperion plant in the form of letters and threats of lawsuits.