Wyoming Ethanol to Suspend Operations

August 31, 2015 11:48 AM
Wyoming Ethanol to Suspend Operations

The only ethanol plant in Wyoming will shut down because it can't compete with lower gasoline prices, an official says.

The Wyoming Ethanol plant is located in Torrington, and the shutdown is expected to affect about 20 workers.

Terry Oldfield, chief executive officer for Renova Energy, parent company of Wyoming Ethanol, said the plant will be going into an "indefinite suspension of operations" by the end of this week.

Wyoming has subsidized ethanol production since 1995, but the 2013 Wyoming Legislature decided to end the tax credit this year.

However, Oldfield told the Torrington Telegram (http://bit.ly/1PW0TCv ) that the loss of the tax credit was not the deciding factor in closing.

"I won't say that losing the tax credit didn't hurt us," he explained, "but we could have survived if petroleum prices hadn't also dropped."

Oil prices dropped below $40 a barrel at one point this past week.

"We don't have the capacity to compete with those prices," Oldfield said.

But Oldfield said the company is holding out hope that the plant can reopen.

"We are taking down operations in an orderly fashion so it can be restarted fairly easily," he said. "We will maintain a maintenance presence at the plant to make sure everything is in working order."

Ashley Harpstreith, executive director of the Goshen County Economic Development Corp., said the state Department of Workforce Services has created a special team to help laid off employees find new jobs.

The Goshen County organization is also working with the Wyoming Business Council on options to help the plant reopen.

The plant produces about 10 million gallons of ethanol a year.

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