Gov. Mark Gordon and Cheyenne Mayor Marian Orr both expressed dismay on Monday over the announcement that 200 HollyFrontier refinery workers in Cheyenne will lose their jobs in the next 12 to 18 months.
HollyFrontier announced Monday it would convert its Cheyenne refinery to a plant to create diesel fuel from soybean oil and cut its workforce by 200 in the process.
Gordon and Orr issued separate statements about the announcement.
“These job losses are real,” Orr said. “And they hurt.”
“The announcement … is a devastating blow to Cheyenne, Laramie County and all of Wyoming,” Gordon said.
HollyFrontier said it no longer considered the refining of petroleum products to be a sustainable business for its Cheyenne refinery. Officials said much of the refinery’s equipment will be used to make the renewable diesel for sale in California and Colorado, while the rest will be idled.
Orr said the announcement is a sign of the reduced demand for fossil fuels.
“It certainly feels as if the hits keep coming,” she said. “This is the world we live in, a world that is moving away from coal and oil and moving towards clean an reliable new energies such as biodiesel.”
Gordon said he asked the state Department of Workforce Services to be ready to help the displaced refinery workers find new jobs and Orr said she also contacted DWS.
“The good news is we have time,” she said. “HollyFrontier isn’t leaving our community and I know they will continue to be good community partners well into the future.”