Some say a new research facility could turn Pike County into the next Silicon Valley.
That research facility is part of an on-going project, but Tuesday, the director of a regional energy association says Pike County could become the energy capitol of the region.
Southern State Energy Board of Directors say the country has to find a way to be independent of foreign oil and they believe the answer is in eastern Kentucky's mountains.
The research facility is just in the planning stages, but officials say it will be a reality, bringing new technology and high paying jobs here.
Eastern Kentucky leaders say they're tired of seeing others benefit from our region's assets.
“We have for too long, in my opinion, loaded up all of our natural resources on a train or a barge and shipped them out of eastern Kentucky. It's time for us to build the facilities here in eastern Kentucky,” Representative Rocky Adkins said.
Southern State Energy Board of Directors want to build an Energy Research Park to create new products that can reduce our nation's dependence on foreign oil.
“We need to take that opportunity and Pike County is an excellent place to do it because of the natural resources,” Ken Nemeth said.
The proposed park will include a coal to liquid fuel plant and other centers to develop and test new products made with coal and natural gas.
Nemeth says they whole country will benefit.
Local leaders believe it will change Eastern Kentucky.
“Silicon Valley and the San Francisco area, think of it in that magnitude of how this could impact,” Pike County Energy Director Roger Ford said.
Organizers say Universities like Kentucky and West Virginia will conduct the research, and the Kentucky Coal Academy will train engineers and other workers.
Organizers say it will keep the regions resources here.
Pike County leaders say already have 900-thousand dollars from state and federal funding to start looking for sites; organizers also say they're planning to build this to be ecologically friendly and not hurt the environment.