An Indiana homegrown company, CountryMark, is today a leading fuel supplier in the state. CountryMark is in the oil business, but not into deep waters exploration like that which resulted in the gulf oil spill disaster recently.
CountryMark owns an oil refinery at Mt. Vernon in Posey County. The company also operates oil wells in southwest Indiana, pulling oil from the Wabash Valley Basin. One of the chief products CountryMark produces and supplies to farmers is diesel fuel for trucks and tractors.
The Gulf oil spill disaster has caught the attention of all Hoosiers. Without an energy background, many don't know which sources to believe, and how to judge the implications for the future rising out of this disaster. Indiana Prairie Farmer recently asked Charlie Smith, president and CEO of CountryMark here in Indiana, to give his perspective on the situation unfolding in the Gulf. Specifically, what could this disaster mean to the future of the energy industry in Indiana and the U.S.?
Here is his exclusive answer for www.indianaprairiefarmer.com.
"As a farmer-owned energy company, and as Hoosiers, we're deeply concerned about the impacts to the people, livelihood and environment of the Gulf Coast region," Smith begins. "We have no expertise in deep water exploration and production. So like the public, what we know is what we glean from media reports.
However, Smith says it's important for Americans, especially now with negative press about the oil spill, to not lose sight of the value of American energy security and jobs that come from the American petroleum industry. "Every day, I am reminded of the faces of the American men and women who derive their livelihoods, directly and indirectly, from the American petroleum industry," he says.
"Clearly we, as a farmer-owned energy company located in the heartland of America, need to redouble our efforts to ensure that we continue to explain these benefits (of the petroleum industry). These are benefits we provide without negative impacts to the environment.
"It's too soon to know if the Congressional policy reaction to the events in the Gulf will impact much smaller, low volume wells that are typical of oil field operations here in the Midwest. But we are concerned that real industry distinctions are not being reflected in comments made to date by federal officials."