Plans for fertilizer plant in Spencer Co. still moving forward - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

Plans for fertilizer plant in Spencer Co. still moving forward

Recent passed legislation has probably doomed the building of a coal-gasification plant in Rockport, but officials say plans to build a fertilizer plant in the same area are moving forward.

Losing the opportunity to build that gasification plant is a major blow to the area economically as it would've created about 2,000 jobs. 

But in speaking to some local businesses and the economic development office, it seems the fertilizer plant is a good consolation prize.

"The gasification plant was going to mean jobs. So, when you lose a number of jobs, that's going to put several billion into the economy, it definitely is a disappointment," says Rob Schulte.

Schulte is a real estate broker at Key Associates, just one of several local companies that would've greatly benefited from the wave of would be gasification plant workers.

"Any time you have jobs, you have a good chance of getting people to move into the area. For us, that's big, obviously," Schulte says. "I mean, any time you lose something like that, it's a disappointment. But at the end of the day, you know, the powers that be have spoken, and we're going to live with that and we're going to keep moving forward."

However disappointed business owners here may be over last week's legislation results, the county's economic director, Tom Utter, says the fertilizer plant will still serve the area well.

"(It will) create around 80, 85 permanent high-paying jobs, and provide a cleaner atmosphere, by helping our industrial users to scrub their emissions," Utter says.

On top of that, Utter says the fertilizer plant will create about 1,200 construction jobs, over a three-year span. Giving Spencer County an economic shot-in-the-arm.

"Just a tremendous amount of benefits," Utter says.

Following the tragic explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas two weeks ago, Utter says some have expressed concern over this plant.

However, Utter says this plant will not contain any of the ammonium nitrate that triggered that explosion. Instead, it will contain non-combustable wet anhydrous ammonium.

As we learn more about construction plans for this plant, we will let you know.

Copyright 2013 WFIE. All rights reserved.

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