Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Posey OKs Fertilizer Incentives ; Proposed Plant Also Granted Special Use Permit

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Posey OKs Fertilizer Incentives ; Proposed Plant Also Granted Special Use Permit

Article excerpt

MOUNT VERNON - The business group behind a $2.1 billion fertilizer plant to be built west of Mount Vernon searched extensively for five months before settling on Posey County as its preferred site, according to one of the executives involved in the deal. For the better part of a year, Midwest Fertilizer Corp., which is backed by an international group of investors including Pakistan- based Fatima Group, has been working toward building a nitrogen fertilizer plant in Posey County.

The project took two big steps forward Thursday.

In midafternoon, representatives from both the county and the company signed a letter of agreement finalizing the county's offer of incentives. The signing was ceremonial, as the incentives still must be approved by the Posey County Council and Commissioners.

Later in the day, Posey County's Board of Zoning Appeals approved a special use permit for the project - one of a number of government approvals that will be necessary as the project moves along.

The $2.1 billion plant is expected to create 2,500 construction jobs during the three years it will take to build it, plus 200 permanent jobs once the plant is up and running.

"We are really proud to be here," Midwest Fertilizer Director of Technology Ahsen Uddin said during the signing ceremony.

Others who participated in the signing included Mike Chorlton, who Midwest Fertilizer has tapped to become its startup chief executive officer; Posey County Council President Bob Gentil; and Posey County Commission President Carl Schmitz.

The plant is planned for a 219-acre site southeast of Sauerkraut Lane and Mackey Ferry Road. The property, which is currently undeveloped, is in an industrial area southwest of downtown Mount Vernon.

About 75 people attended a Board of Zoning Appeals meeting, and a number of them voiced their opinions on the project.

Some, including representatives from area labor organizations, said they welcome the project and the jobs it will bring.

Others voiced a number of concerns, including plant safety, increased traffic and the site's proximity to residential areas.

"The infrastructure on that side of town is not adequate for this," said Brent Brauser, who said he lives within a quarter-mile of the proposed plant site.

Brauser, along with several other commenters, said the Ports of Indiana would be a better location. Midwest Fertilizer originally had identified that site as its preferred location, but after the state of Indiana withdrew its offer of state economic incentives that location was no longer an option.

"We supported the port site, but we don't have access to the port site," Chorlton told the group.

Regarding safety concerns, Uddin said the plant will be built and operated according to federal safety standards. Uddin said Fatima Group's two existing fertilizer plants in Pakistan each have excellent safety records and operate according to U. …

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