The planned conversion of the Cheyenne HollyFrontier Refinery to renewable diesel production will lead to the loss of about 200 jobs in Cheyenne over the next 12-18 months, according to a release from the company.

HollyFrontier announced on Monday that its Board of Directors has approved the conversion, which will take place over the next year to year and a half and cost about $125 million to $175 million to implement.

When the process is finished the Cheyenne site will produce about 90 million gallons per year of renewable diesel and employ about 80 people, a reduction of roughly 200 jobs from the current HollyFrontier Refinery workforce in Cheyenne.

HollyFrontier President and CEO Mike Jennings was quoted in the news release as saying “Demand for renewable diesel, as well as other lower-carbon fuels, is growing and taking market share based on both consumer preferences and support from substantial federal and state government incentive programs."

Cheyenne Mayor Marian Orr meanwhile issued the following statement on the announcement

''This morning I received a call from HollyFrontier CEO Mike Jennings with the unfortunate, but not surprising, news of changes coming to our refinery. Before COVID-19, we saw hits to our coal and oil industries including increasingly and costly regulatory compliance burdens. It certainly feels as if the hits keep coming. This is the world we now live in, a world that is moving away from coal and oil and moving towards clean and reliable new energies such as renewable diesel. 

These job losses are real. And they hurt. This morning I alerted Wyoming Department of Workforce Services Director Robin Cooley of this news, so that their office may stand at the ready to help employees’ transition to new job opportunities. And there are opportunities out there. The good news is we have time. HollyFrontier isn’t leaving our community, and I know they will continue to be good community partners well into the future. 

I mentioned opportunity. With change and challenge comes opportunity, and I know that while it is a dark day in Cheyenne, we will still have a beautiful Wyoming sunrise in the morning and a hopeful future as we manage change together."