Ashland Alliance

Rand Paul meets with Marathon, talks local economy

CATLETTSBURG, Ky. — U.S. Senator Rand Paul was in Catlettsburg Thursday to learn about Marathon Petroleum Company's Marine operation and to also discuss what the federal government can do to help spur more economic growth in the industry.

Marathon Petroleum's Marine operation is a good news business story for Eastern Kentucky. Just this year it added 53 new employees and invested in new tow boats and barges. The Marine unit operates side-by-side with Marathon's Petroleum refinery.

"We operate 21 tow boats and about 250 barges, and we move petroleum products primarily from the Catlettsburg refinery to terminals up and down the river," said Todd Sandifer manager of Marine Transportation at Marathon.

"We move materials all the way from Pennsylvania to the Gulf Coast. We are a transportation company."

Paul, Marathon marine executives and other local business leaders met to discuss steps the federal government can take to help create more business opportunities and efficiency.

"Government's role should be to help businesses thrive and employ more people," Paul said. "One of the things we talked about was government's role with locks and dams. We (the federal government) had one lock and dam...that took 24 years and its still not done and cost over 1 billion. That is an example of government not doing their job very well. I think we all have a common interest in having the river work well. It is good for the Ashland area. It is good for Kentucky. It is good to make sure transportation can get up and down the river."

Sandifer said the leaders talked about the recent growth as well as river infrastructure.

"He was interested in the expansion we've experienced this year," Sandifer said. "We were able to add 53 new employees new tow boats, new barges, all this year."

"(We talked about) tax cuts, the increase in production of domestic crude, fracking materials, has allowed the refinery to change...and provide additional materials to transport on the river," he said. "It has allowed us to expand and add employment in this area. The river system, the infrastructure is really old. That is one of our primary focuses is with our government, maintaining and renewing those resources."


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