COLLINSVILLE, Ill. – State Rep. Katie Stuart, D-Edwardsville, toured the Wood River Oil Refinery earlier this week along with Comptroller Susana Mendoza, State Rep. LaToya Greenwood, and former state Reps. Brandon Phelps and Jim Watson.
“The refinery is one of the biggest employers in our area, and while I have driven past it more times than I can count and have friends who work there, I didn’t know exactly what went on beyond the gates,” said Stuart. “I’m grateful for the opporutnity to hear from Phillips 66 representatives on the process of refining and their efforts to mitigate pollution and minimize hazardous waste. I was especially impressed with the emphasis on safety in the workplace.”
The refinery is one of the largest in the nation and employs over 900 people in the Metro East. The company works with local high schools to recruit students interested in becoming engineers for a training program after high school graduation.
“As a representative, I think it is important for me to gain an understanding of all the different types of businesses in the area and across the region. The refinery is one of the largest in terms of numbers of employees and tax base, and they are to be commended for a recent multi-billion dollar expansion they took on without asking for preferential tax treatment or incentives,” Stuart continued. “My visit reaffirms my commitment to bringing back career and technical education to our high schools, as places like the refinery are on the verge of facing a crisis when they will not be able to hire the skilled employees they need as the current workforce retires.”