Stumbo says new clean energy project in Pike Co. a glimmer of hope for the region's economy

08/30/2014 07:25 AM

RCC Big Shoal and Pike County officials announced the beginning of a new project to build a natural gas-to-liquids plant in Pike County Thursday which they say will help the eastern Kentucky economy with the new natural resource.

As the region looks to find new ways to re-build the economy as the the coal industry continues to decline, the new plant in the region would use natural gas extracted throughout the region to create new products.

According to the officials at the announcement, the project would employ hundreds during the construction of the plant and then 50 people for the day-to-day operations.

“The process and technology used at this facility would open new gas reserves, paving the way for similar facilities to locate throughout eastern Kentucky and the energy rich central Appalachian region. Pike County currently produces a significant amount of the natural gas produced in Kentucky, making it the ideal location for RCC,” President of RCC David Farmer said about the announcement.

Pike County Judge-Executive Wayne Rutherford, who was one of the main architects behind the project, said today that using the county’s natural resources is the right way to help the region re-build.

Among the things the liquid would produce is synthetic diesel fuel, base oils, and lubricants. And Rutherford added that the natural resources projects like this one are the future for the industry because they are clean.

“This is a clean energy project. What goes in to this refinery, clean comes out clean,” Rutherford said. “The major oil companies, Shell, Exxonmobil, they can’t use this. They put petroleum in it, its dirty and it comes out dirty. We put clean natural gas in and it comes out clean.”

After the announcement, House Speaker Greg Stumbo told Pure Politics the project is a good way to look forward in helping the region re-build its economy.

“Our challenge is finding how we can diversify some from coal, how we can bring jobs to replace the jobs we have lost in our mining industry to eastern Kentucky and the logical way to do that is to use our resources,” Stumbo said. “We are blessed with an abundance of not only coal but natural gas and other natural petroleum type products.”

Stumbo said the project will be funded through state and federal dollars as well as private money. And when it comes to the timeline of when the plant will be built, Stumbo said it will likely be done in three to five years. But he said it’s a start to something good for the area.


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