By Dave Madden and Ben Bowens

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) — Some 490 workers at Sunoco’s Marcus Hook refinery will soon be out of work. They’re shutting down the plant now, rather than wait to find a buyer.

Sunoco CEO Lynn Elsenhans said Thursday that deteriorating market conditions are forcing the move at the facility in Marcus Hook.

“Our retail and logistics businesses are performing well, but given the negative realities of the Northeast refining marketplace, we need to accelerate the timeline for idling our Marcus Hook processing units,” said Elsenhans.

Their Southwest Philadelphia plant could face a similar fate come next July.

Officials are trying to find buyers for both Sunoco refineries, and a Conoco Phillips plant that was idled a couple months ago. United Steelworkers Local 10-901 head Dave Miller represents more than 300 Marcus Hook workers who got 90 day layoff notices from Sunoco.

“I don’t think the company’s done anything more than they had to, the bare minimums, theatrics, at this point, is what I believe it was all about,” said Miller

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Sunoco spokesman Thomas Golembeski insists market conditions prompted the change in corporate plans.

“Motor fuel demand has decreased and the cost of the sweet crude that we refine is very high and that puts Sunoco at a disadvantage.”

He insists sales efforts continue as well as a search for firms that might use the facilities in another fashion.

Sunoco says about 100 employees will be redeployed to other positions within the company where possible.

“This was a very difficult decision given the impacts to employees and nearby communities, and we will work closely with them throughout this process,” Elsenhans
said.

Sunoco’s refinery in Philadelphia continues to operate.

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