A coal to liquid fuel plant will be coming to Eastern Kentucky. County officials announced more than $100,000 is coming from the state to help bring the plant to the county and more money is on the way.
Pike County officials have had the idea to build a coal to liquid fuel plant since January, but they needed the funds to do it. They pitched the plan to state leaders at the East Kentucky Leadership Conference last month and Monday, they got a notice from the Governor's Office of Energy Policy that money is on the way.
Pike County leaders believe coal from Eastern Kentucky mines will do more than power electricity. They believe it will power the United States Military.
"This is a big step as we move forward in taking our place in America," said Pike County Judge Executive Wayne T. Rutherford.
With a notice of $125,000 from the Governor's Office of Energy Policy in hand, Pike County officials are now starting development plans.
"This is a great day," Rutherford said.
In the proposed plan, the fuel created will be diesel and jet fuel for the military's vehicles and planes.
"This is something we can push for, bring revenue back to Eastern Kentucky, have coal booming once again," said Kim Wells with Summitt Engineering.
Pike County officials say seven companies or research groups are already involved with the plan. The University of Kentucky is anchoring the group.
Summitt Engineering is already looking for land to build it.
"I was born and raised here. Coal has always put bread on my family's table so this is something I want to have for Eastern Kentucky," Wells said.
The plant is projected to do more than provide fuel, but also jobs for future generations.
"They can grow up here. They can go to school, get an education, come back to high skilled, high paying jobs in Eastern Kentucky," Rutherford said.
Officials say the coal to liquid fuel plant is just the beginning of developing new energy sources in Eastern Kentucky.
The $125,000 will go to finding a site and setting down the ground work such as water and natural gas for the plant. Officials will need more funding to build the plant. They're in the process of applying for an Appalachian Regional Commission Grant.