Rentech needs to talk to public

Published 11:17 pm Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Courting, negotiating and landing big economic development projects often happen behind closed doors.

Businesses and industries don’t like to air their laundry for the world to see before they are sure of what they are going to wear.

It’s understandable.

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But the door has to open at some point or no one is ever going to come in.

Adams County residents started hearing about Rentech in 2005. Two hundred jobs, no unhealthy emissions, major construction — the project was just what Natchez needed.

Local leaders lobbied and succeeded in getting the state to commit $15 million to the project. Talks continued. The president of the new coal-to-liquid facility visited Natchez and said we were “perfect.”

But months have passed and Rentech said recently they want even more time.

They’ve now said they don’t want to purchase the needed land until April 1, when the original date was Dec. 1.

And they didn’t tell the public why.

The company, on which many in the community have staked their future, owes us all more of an explanation. Maybe this isn’t a stall tactic, but they sure haven’t explained why it isn’t.

“No comment” gives the public only one option — worry.

We want to believe in Rentech, however more unexplainable delays raise questions. Some members of the public have already begun to lose faith.

Rentech needs to be upfront and honest about exactly what is happening, or else everyone’s going to assume the closed doors mean bad news. And none of us want to believe that.