EDA to visit D.C. on Rentech deal

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 30, 2005

NATCHEZ &8212; Economic Development Authority officials will visit Washington in late January or early February to lobby for incentives for a proposed coal gasification plant.

&8220;It&8217;s so we can get in line for funding for the Rentech deal,&8221; EDA board Chairman Woody Allen said earlier this week.

That&8217;s after Rentech officials met Mayor Phillip West, county supervisors President Darryl Grennell and a representative of Rep. Thad Cochran&8217;s office to discuss the deal Wednesday over lunch.

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&8220;We discussed the site footprint, exactly what they wanted&8221; with Rentech&8217;s project manager, Allen said.

The federal government has a variety of tax and other incentives for coal gasification plants, and Rentech is also expected to ask city and county officials for tax breaks on the local level.

Pending approval of incentives, Colorado-based fuel manufacturer Rentech plans to build a $650 million, 200-job plant at the former Belwood Country Club site near the Natchez-Adams Port, completing construction by fall 2010.

The plant would make diesel fuel from coal and petroleum coke shipped downriver from Rentech&8217;s Illinois location and would produce, as a by-product, agricultural fertilizer.

The average pay for a job at the plant would be $45,000 plus benefits, company officials have said.