Coal Conversion Plant Will Come to Western Ky.

By: Ryan Dearbone Email
By: Ryan Dearbone Email

A coal plant worth three-billion dollars will soon make Kentucky its home.

Peabody Energy and Conoco-Phillips say they plan to build a coal-conversion plant in western Kentucky.

The proposed three-billion dollar structure would turn coal into cleaner-burning synthetic natural gas.

A Peabody executive says a study will focus exclusively on sites in the western part of Kentucky.

However, just where in western Kentucky the plant will end up is the big question now.

The five counties on that list are Union, Henderson, Webster, Muhlenberg and Ohio counties.

The plant would generate 500 new jobs to the county it locates to.

Ohio County Judge-Executive David Jones is excited at the thought of possibly getting the coal-to-natural gas facility.

"If we could land this here in Ohio County, it's be great for our county and it'd also be good for our region," Jones said.

He believes the millions of dollars in revenue would allow the county to fix up long overdue projects, like roads.

"There are a lot of county roads. We got about 600 miles of county roads. We'll blacktop a lot of those roads," Jones explained.

It could also allow the county to keep its money in local hands.

"These would be good paying jobs and people would hopefully spend their money locally. It'd be a good payroll every year," Jones added.

One local establishment that could see the benefit of more jobs in the area is the Beaver Dam Cafe.

Cafe owner William Belford says he usually sees about a 100 customers daily.

If the plant came, he'd expect to that number to jump.

"It would make it more profitable. It would be a big help to the community," Belford said.

The plant would also fit perfect with the county's recent agreement to bring in Armstrong Coal.

"They're bringing about 950 new jobs and planning on mining ten-billion tons of coal a year. So about enough reserves that they could be here about 20 to 25 years," Jones said.

Which he says would make the county a one-stop shop for coal and natural gas as well as a new hub for economy.

Right now a feasibility study on all five counties is being conducted.

The study is expected to be completed next year, and naming the plant's new home will follow.


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