Sen. Jones Introduces Refinery Legislation to Help With State Gas Prices


When it comes to gas prices, the numbers don't lie and Sen. Rick Jones has had enough.

"Why are we number two in the nation in gas price? It shouldn't happen," he said.

But it did happen. Michigan's prices were second only to Hawaii last month. We're down to seven now, according to gasbuddy.com. That's not low enough to make Sen. Jones happy. He introduced his refinery bill, Wednesday.

"Any company that will come to Michigan and build a refinery here for the purpose of making gasoline for Michiganders...we'll give them a ten-year tax abatement on their property tax and equipment tax," said Sen. Jones.

According to Jones, a new refinery would keep state prices from going up when out-of-state refineries are out of commission.

However, John Griffin of the Associated Petroleum Industries of Michigan says building in Michigan will be a tall order, thanks to a 20 percent drop in demand over the last few years, among other reasons.

"You would be building a brand new plant that would be quite expensive and trying to sell gasoline in a market that's already pretty adequately supplied," said Griffin.

As far as keeping gas prices down, Griffin says refineries typically don't have much of an effect.

"The price of gasoline follows the price of crude oil up and down," he said. "It has for decades."

Anne Woiwode of the Michigan Sierra Club disagrees with the legislation, pointing to issues with Michigan's only current refinery in Detroit.

"[It's] causing serious health problems, has caused various explosions that have been difficult for neighboring communities to deal with," said Woiwode.

Jones says it won't be a problem because his legislation is for companies who want to build with the environment in mind.

"We have one of the toughest DEQs in the country, so if they build one here, it's going to be built right," he said.

Sen. Jones hopes the bill will be passed when session returns in the Fall.

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