Rentech bill introduced in House

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 17, 2006

NATCHEZ &8212; A Legislative bill was introduced Monday afternoon saying the state would issue $15 million in bonds to help finance Rentech in Adams County.

Under House Bill 1524, the alternative fuel plant would have to meet certain conditions to repay the state part or all of its money.

Specifically, the plant must have an initial capital investment &8212; from sources other than the state &8212; of at least $800 million and create at least 200 full-time jobs with an average annual salary of $45,000, excluding benefits.

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Local officials have said Rentech will match the $15 million in state money with $10 million of its own money.

The bill now heads to the House Ways and Means Committee for action. The deadline for the full House to take action on the bill is Feb. 22.

Rep. Sam Mims, R-McComb, said he and fellow bill authors Reps. Robert Johnson III, D-Natchez, Angela Cockerham, D-Magnolia, and America &8220;Chuck&8221; Middleton, D-Port Gibson, plan to ask Sen. Bob Dearing, D-Natchez, to sponsor a companion bill in the Senate.

The local delegation will work very closely with the House leadership to shepherd the bill through the process, Mims said.

&8220;I think it&8217;s got a very good chance, when (other lawmakers) realize what an impact this project will have on Adams County and all of Mississippi,&8221; he said. &8220;And we&8217;ll work to educate them on that.&8221;

In addition, Natchez aldermen recently voted to set aside $20,000 to hire a lobbyist to, among other things, push for incentives to land the Rentech plant.