AFPM: Refiners must speak with clearer, unified voice

The refining and petrochemical industries benefit the US, and their representatives must rebuke misleading criticisms from politicians so that the general public hears the facts, leaders of the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (formerly the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association) said Mar. 12 during an opening session of the AFPM annual meeting in San Diego.

James Mahoney, AFPM chairman and a Koch Industries executive vice-president, said elected officials routinely praise US manufacturers but often fail to acknowledge that refiners are manufacturers. The meeting marks the organization’s first annual meeting since its name change. The change, which took effect in January, was made to emphasize manufacturing, the organization’s executives said last year.

Mahoney said AFPM members support 2 million jobs and could provide more jobs without the obstacles sometimes imposed by politicians and regulators.

“We have the potential to do much more and put many more Americans to work if only the restraints on our industry would be loosened,” Mahoney said.

AFPM Pres. Charles T. Drevna said, “The more things change, the more things stay the same.” He noted the refining and petrochemical industries “remain committed to a strong America as a vibrant player in the global economy.”

Drevna called upon the 1,600 people attending the annual conference to help AFPM speak with “a louder, clearer, and more-unified voice than ever before,” adding, “Our critics have bigger megaphones than we do.”

Drevna said, “The nation needs to hear that we are energy-rich, not energy-poor. The products we make and the jobs we provide will spark a new renaissance in manufacturing and a new prosperity for our country.”

In comments made to reporters before the annual meeting, Drevna called for the US government to allow increased exploration and development of the nation’s oil and gas on federal lands and in federal waters.

In addition, Drevna advocates approval of the Keystone XL pipeline to bring 700,000 b/d of oil to US Gulf Coast refineries.

Drevna said overly burdensome and conflicting government regulations threaten American competitiveness and often do nothing to protect the environment but instead jeopardize US jobs.

Examples of these are Tier 3 regulations to reduce sulfur in gasoline, greenhouse gas regulations, lengthy permitting delays, and requirements under the Renewable Fuel Standard involving biofuels, Drevna said.

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.

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