Posey County residents have heightened fears about proposed fert - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Posey County residents have heightened fears about proposed fertilizer plant

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Mount Vernon resident Virginia Stotlar is opposed to the proposed fertilizer plant because she says the public informed about details. Mount Vernon resident Virginia Stotlar is opposed to the proposed fertilizer plant because she says the public informed about details.

Following the deadly explosion in West, Texas, residents in Posey County have concerns about a fertilizer plant that may be built there.

Officials want to point out one major difference between the West, Texas plant and the proposed plant.

The plant in Texas makes ammonium nitrate and officials say that chemical will not be produced in Posey County.

There were already concerns about the Pakistani based company, The Fatima Group, building their plant in Posey County because United States officials claim that some of the products they make are used in homemade bombs that target American soldiers.

Now people who live near the proposed site are left to wonder how they'll be protected if something goes wrong.

"It's concerning with it being so close to our house," Mount Vernon resident Erin Siegel said.

Siegel says she is opposed to the proposed fertilizer plant. She's concerned about increased traffic, hazardous materials and following the disaster in West, Texas, she's afraid of potentially catastrophic consequences.  

"I mean it just happens ya know, this is the first area it's going to go to, how fast are they going to let us know?" Mount Vernon resident Virginia Stotlar asked. 

As neighbors, Siegel and Stotlar can see the Port of Indiana from their front porch.

Their concerns about the proposed fertilizer plant have left them with more questions than answers.  

"How close to our house are the hazardous materials going to be?" Siegel asked.

"If they do have an accident or a fire they'll be taking up so much of everybody, all the fire departments around here, if somebody else has a fire it's going to be harder," Stotlar said.

Stotlar has one suggestion to quell some of her safety concerns.  

"I'd really like to see them have their own fire department," Stotlar said.

Corporations like SABIC and Toyota do have their own fire brigades. But Mount Vernon Fire Chief Wes Dixon said that is a huge expense to companies.

Both Dixon and Black Township Fire Chief Jay Price support the proposed plant maintaining it's own fire brigade. 

Price said when any new corporation moves into Posey County, they work closely to tour the facility and identify potential safety risks. At times, the new corporations may pay for new vehicles, equipment and training. 

"I would just want to make sure that it's safe and it's not going to be treated just as a money opportunity, it needs to be really thought through to make sure it's going to be safe," Siegel said.

Posey County Economic Development Director John Stanley said tragedies often prompt change. He expects the federal government to revise regulations in every fertilizer plant in the country.

That means every new facility will also be operating under the strongest safety regulations.

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