Waste forces wait for Rentech

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 24, 2008

NATCHEZ — After months of delays, those waiting on the Rentech land closing will have to keep waiting.

While the deal’s closing date is still set for next week, attorney Bob Latham, hired by the county to facilitate the closing, said last week the deal could have closed as early as Friday.

But that didn’t happen.

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Latham said issues between Rentech and the St. Catherine’s Creek Utility Authority caused the cancelation of the latest closing date.

When the land deal does close, St. Catherine’s will be maintaining Rentech’s wastewater.

Latham said finalization of funding for maintenance of the wastewater’s treatment facility was still in discussion and pushed back Friday’s early closing date.

After mineral rights issues postponed the March 28 closing, a 60-day extension was granted to Rentech to complete the land transaction.

Once the deal closes, several hundred acres of land will be transferred from International Paper to Rentech for development of their facility.

But just when that transaction will happen is still unknown and time is quickly becoming a factor.

After the extension was granted, June 1 was named as the new date to have the closing completed.

However, on May 30, Latham will be leaving town and said the deal must be prior to that date.

“It needs to happen before next Friday,” he said.

And with Memorial Day causing the closing of most business on Monday, that only leaves three days to finish the deal.

Adding additional constrictions, President of the Adams County Board of Supervisors Henry Watts said he will not sign any documents he has not had an opportunity to review personally.

Watts said before he signs any documents he wants an opportunity to review them with Latham and county attorney Bobby Cox.

“I want to see everything I’m obligating the county to,” he said.

Watts estimated the process to review the documents would likely take one day.

While Watts would be responsible for signing off on deeds and addendums to contracts, he said he felt especially obligated to review each one since so many documents have been amended since the project began.

“Some of the contracts have been changed three times,” he said.

Watts said he has had no contact with Latham to set up a time to review the contracts. Once completed, Rentech’s facility is expected to produce various chemicals including an ultra clean burning diesel fuel.

Rentech representatives could not be reached for comment.