SAN ANTONIO, March 21, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- America's fuels and petrochemical manufacturers will play a vital role for many decades in meeting America's energy needs, the chairman and president of NPRA, the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association, both told the opening session of the 109th annual meeting of the association today.
"Our members are part of the solution," said NPRA Chairman William Klesse, who is CEO, president and chairman of the board of Valero Energy Corporation. "But what threatens that most is government interference through bad policy choices."
Klesse and NPRA President Charles T. Drevna spoke to nearly 1,500 refining and petrochemical executives at the NPRA Annual Meeting, which is the largest professional gathering of its kind in the world.
"New potential regulations of greenhouse gases, low-carbon fuels and high-carbon intensity crude oils are already hurting our industry and our country," Klesse said. "It is difficult to understand why other people cannot see this."
Drevna stressed the importance of the free market system in America's energy future.
"If government steps back and allows free market competition to take place on a level playing field, the best energy sources will come out on top – at the lowest cost to consumers and taxpayers," Drevna said.
"But when government tries to pick winners and losers among economic competitors, American consumers and taxpayers wind up the biggest losers of all," Drevna added. "First, by paying more for products. And second, by paying higher taxes to fund huge government subsidies for products that can't survive on their own."
"NPRA members are high-tech American manufacturers of virtually the entire U.S. supply of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, other fuels and home heating oil, as well as the petrochemicals used as building blocks for thousands of vital products," Drevna said. "We play a key role in America's economic and national security."
"We're saying to every man and woman in our nation: When we get hurt by government over-regulation and discriminatory taxation, you get hurt," Drevna said.
"NPRA members make modern life possible and keep America moving and growing," Drevna said. "We're meeting the needs of our nation and local communities, and providing jobs directly and indirectly for more than 2 million Americans."
The NPRA meeting runs though Tuesday afternoon. Other general session speakers include former U.S. Sen. Alan K. Simpson (R-Wyo.) and author and energy journalist Robert Bryce. PBF Energy Chairman Thomas D. O'Malley will address the industry leadership breakfast Tuesday morning. The speakers at the annual luncheon Tuesday will be former U.S. Congressman Joe Scarborough (R-Fla.) and Mika Brzezinski, who host the MSNBC "Morning Joe" program.
Technical sessions provide important information on a broad range of issues for those attending the meeting.
SOURCE National Petrochemical & Refiners Association