Darren Doyle, story and photo
Hellervik Oil Technologies held a public meeting today at the Edmonson County Public Library to discuss their plans to bring a new gas plant to Edmonson County.
In the wake of the Atmos plant debacle that turned Rocky Hill upside down, general manager Gary Minard said that this is a completely different situation, one that will greatly benefit county residents.
Although the exact location of the property was not disclosed (pending final legal documentation), it was announced as being located in the county just off of 31W, about halfway between the Bowling Green city limits and the Edmonson County Industrial Park. Minard said the proposed location is a 127 acre densely wooded area that will house the plant right in the middle of the property.
So what makes this any different from the failed plant that was located in Rocky Hill?
"We understand the impact that a gas plant has on a community," said Minard. "We don't want to repeat the same issues like the noise and pollution that impacted the folks in Rocky Hill."
Minard said the new plant will not operate like the Rocky Hill plant and will feature better equipment that will help prevent noise and pollution from having negative effects on county residents.
"We first evaluated the Atmos plant, but operating there wouldn't work. The community didn't want that and there were also several other issues. Things just didn't come together but the resources are still here and the opportunity is still here."
After failing to find a buyer for the property, Atmos Energy announced they were dismantling the plant and donating the property to the Rocky Hill Fire Department. However; it's probably more accurate to say the Rocky Hill residents themselves dismantled it. They pushed back against Atmos and the companies that were interested in buying it. The pressure that local citizens placed on the potential buyers was much greater than that of the gas in the lines. Hellervik says this plant will be completely different.
"We've got a good business plan for Edmonson County. This is like a diamond in the rough. We're going to bring revenue to royalty holders and will provide extraction tax revenues to the county. We're not going to take government subsidies. We're going to provide jobs and train people for those jobs. We encourage folks to check out our blog at Hellervik.us. We appreciate the reception we've received and wish to be nothing but good corporate citizens of Edmonson County," he said.
Judge Executive Wil Cannon said that as long as someone is going to put a gas plant here, he'd rather it be with a community partner that wants to work with the county, and so far, he said Hellervik has shown to be just that.
"I've said this before and I feel that Hellervik coming here is a win-win-win," he said. "We can't stop someone from coming in here and putting up some kind of a plant wherever they choose, so we need to encourage the right group of people. I feel good about Hellervik because they've shown that want to be a good community neighbor."
Cannon said Hellervik has provided a business plan different from other companies interested in the county resources.
"They're going to first, buy gas from county residents, so that helps right off. They're going to bring jobs to the county, although not every position will be filled by a county citizen, there will still be opportunities. Their tax revenues will pump money back into the county and we'll have some funding to really make a difference."
Cannon said if it's not Hellervik, it will be someone else. That someone else might not be the best for the county.
"These folks have shown that they want to do things differently," he said. "They attend fiscal court meetings. They meet with county and community leaders. They're doing all theses things that they don't have to. They're showing they want to be good fit for the community."
Chairman of the Board and CEO Lowell Hellervik was eager to show the Edmonson Voice the property of the proposed plant but decided that it would be best to hold off until the remaining legal matters were in order. They said they would invite us to the property once the purchase and placement was finalized.
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