|By NANCY LYBARGER
MOUNT VERNON, Ind. — Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman congratulated the Countrymark Co-op construction team for bringing the new low sulfur diesel fuel production facility on-line by the June 1 deadline established by the EPA.
She was one of the state officials who spoke at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Diesel Fuel Processing Complex.
“We are grateful that Countrymark has been such a good partner with us in the state clean air initiative,” Skillman said. “Without this new facility, Countrymark would eventually have had to cease production here.”
She noted that 140 Countrymark refinery employees will still bring home paychecks as a result of the $44 million project. “This is the type of foresight the Governor and I have been encouraging,” Skillman said. “The Governor and I have made a commitment to grow the economy in Indiana. We’re working night and day to create a favorable business climate in the state.”
State Rep. Trent Van Haaften (D-Mount Vernon) said the positive steps being taken to improve air quality are critical, but “equally important is the leadership Countrymark is showing Posey County.”
He said the new complex will assure that people will have jobs that will keep them in the area to work, raise families and then retire.
“Thanks for keeping your roots here in Mount Vernon and Posey County,” Van Haaften said.
The complex that went on-line June 1 was on paper for three years before construction began in 2004, according to John Deaton, Countrymark senior vice president of operations. He served as the head engineer for the complex.
“These kinds of projects don’t come along too often,” he said, noting that 250,000 hours of labor were put into the construction process.
The refinery start-up team started in late April testing the operation before it was given the nod.
The processing complex is more technically called a distillate hydrotreater. It covers about two acres of the Countrymark complex in Mount Vernon.
Sulfur naturally occurs in petroleum-based fuels. The EPA mandated reductions in harmful emissions that are produced when high sulfur fuels are burned. Reduced particulate matter, less smog, lower ozone levels and generally better air quality are benefits of ULSD fuels.
The use of the ultra-low sulfur fuels will also facilitate the introduction of diesel engine technology that will further reduce emissions, Deaton said. Countrymark Co-op also leads the refining industry in marketing soy biodiesel-blended fuels, he said.
This farm news was published in the June 14, 2006 issue of Farm World, serving Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee.