By Assemblyman Will Barclay (R-Pulaski)
I recently had the privilege of attending a ribbon cutting ceremony at Sunocoâ€™s Fulton Ethanol Plant to celebrate the opening of the facility. This opening is welcome news for Oswego County, for the Central New York economy, for the future of biofuels and for farmers from all over the region. I was honored to be a part of the event and I look forward to watching the company flourish in Upstate New York.
Sunoco acquired the facility late last year and invested more than $20 million into modifying the plant. Prior to the Sunoco acquisition, the fate of this plant was uncertain after its prior owner, Northeast Biofuels, encountered too many difficulties to continue operating two years ago. However, without Northeast Biofuelsâ€™ initial investment in the former Miller brewing plant, the Sunoco facility would not have been possible. It is now the largest biofuels plant in the Northeast. Sunoco hopes the facility will produce 20 percent of the companyâ€™s ethanol needs. When one considers that the company has 4,700 retail locations in 23 states, thatâ€™s a big demand to meet.
The biofuels plant has given our region hope. Not only is the plant directly employing 60 people but it is purchasing corn from local farmers. It will require approximately 30 million bushels of corn to produce roughly 100 million gallons of ethanol each year. It plans to source corn from as many local farmers as possible. Sunocoâ€™s goals also include establishing a market for dry distillerâ€™s grain. In addition, the company purchased 25 acres of land at the business park for future expansion and trucking projects. Time will tell what further expansion will take place but the company hopes to diversify its biofuels portfolio in Fulton by creating cellulosic ethanol. Cellulosic ethanol is a biofuel produced from wood, grasses, or the non-edible parts of plants. It also hopes to extract corn oil in the near future.
Other good news is the type of jobs at the facility. They are high-paying and Sunoco estimates it will have an annual payroll of $4.5 million. These are paychecks that will help buoy our local economy. Another positive economic factor the plant will provide is the agriculture deliveries. Corn will be hulled in by rail and by truck and those drivers will be coming in on local highways and roads; they are likely to support ancillary businesses such as restaurants, shops and even hotels. Some Sunoco stations are located in the region. After the ethanol leaves the Volney facility, it’s taken to blending centers throughout the region. The fuel thatâ€™s produced in Fulton will find its way back to local gas stations.
I am pleased the Sunoco has chosen to invest in this facility. For some time, the property was vacant after Miller closed its doors and left hundreds without jobs. This new plant provides a promise for the future and steady jobs to our region. Sunoco and all the people who made this facility operational should be congratulated and I wish them continued success for the future.
If you have any questions or comments on this or any other state issue, or if you would like to be added to my mailing list or receive my newsletter, please contact my office. My office can be reached by mail at 200 North Second Street, Fulton, New York 13069, by e-mail at [email protected] or by calling (315) 598-5185.