One southern Kentucky city is looking to be a regional hub for natural gas, and that could mean more jobs.
Somerset Mayor Eddie Girdler says they are planning to build a natural gas stripping plant in Clay County and an energy hub in downtown Somerset.
Girdler says thousands of jobs could be added in eastern and southern Kentucky in the next few years.
For the last 30 years, Somerset has had it's own natural gas transmission line.
For the past year, they have been using a stripping plant on the Pulaski and Laurel County line to take by products out of the gas that have value.
"About 25 percent of the product that actually comes out has product equal to $80 or eighty percent of the price of crude oil," said Girdler.
Those by-products can be used in manufacturing facilities throughout the nation which means profit for the city.
Now, Mayor Girdler says the city is planning on building a second, larger plant in Clay County that would essentially do the same thing.
"That's going to be the forerunner to new energy development to supplement coal, not necessarily to do away with coal," said Girdler.
As part of this plan, city hall will be torn down and a new $8.5 million, three story building will be constructed to house not only a new city hall but some of the new technologies for this initiative.
"We just need a new building to house all of the monitoring and high tech systems in place that we are going to actually build for eastern Kentucky," said Girdler.
Girdler says there is no reason that Kentucky cannot be the leader in alternatives to oil.
In the process, he says 2,000 jobs will be created in the next two years.
The two new facilities will be funded by the City of Somerset, with help possibly from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.