Plans Unveiled For Four Billion Dollar Coal To Liquid Fuel Plant

By: Angela Sparkman Email
By: Angela Sparkman Email

Plans are unveiled for a four billion dollar coal to liquid fuel plant in eastern Kentucky.

Officials say they already know where it will be built in Pike County.

Leaders didn't announce an official plant Monday, but announced their plan to get one here.

A one year study shows the Big Shoal site in Pikeville is the best spot, and now state and federal officials are jumping on board, saying Monday we need to build this to slash gas prices, and help the Appalachian economy.

Pike County and state leaders say billions of tons of coal leaves the region.

“We want that to change,” says Wayne T. Rutherford, Pike County Judge-Executive.

Instead, the plan is to keep it in eastern Kentucky, and go to Pike County and turn into liquid fuel.

“To produce our own transportation fuels with our own people, and we need to be doing that,“ says Rep. Rocky Adkins, House Majority Leader

“(This) will allow the United States to become energy independent and free of foreign oil, and money going overseas can actually be invested back in the United States,” says Kimberly Wells, Summit Engineering.

Local, state, and national Leaders want to build a four billion dollar coal to liquid fuel plant in Pikeville. A study says the Big Shoal Site is the best spot because it is near U.S. 23, a railroad, and an airport, and can easily get coal from Kentucky, West Virginia, and Virginia. Now they're looking at making the plans become a reality.

“Something that can be achieved,” says Rep. Adkins.

Organizers say the plant will be environmentally friendly and use clean coal technology.

“We have to breathe the air like anyone else, and we don't want to do anything to the ozone. We don't want do damage it,” says Rutherford.

Officials say they don't want to use taxpayer dollars to build it, and instead are looking for investors to pay the four billion dollar price tag.

“To us, that is a whole lot of money, but it is not in the energy crisis,” says Rutherford.

Developers believe the money will be well-spent, saying it will instead pay for itself in the long run and create thousands of jobs, and pump millions of dollars into Eastern Kentucky.

“We can turn this into a tremendous opportunity for our people,” says Rep. Adkins.

But they say this is just the beginning, and there is a lot of work before it will be a reality.

State leaders say the energy incentives passed last year are already drawing interest for investors. Senator Jim Bunning plans to discuss this in Washington in a few months as well.

Rutherford also says the air force says they're on board to buy the liquid fuel and help where needed.

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