Lucedale pellet plant: Locals say yes, environmentalists say ‘hold on’
A $1.4 million grant is on the way to Lucedale to help improve the George County Industrial Park and make way for a $140 million wood pellet plant.
The grant was announced Thursday by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross is from the department’s Economic Development Administration. Ross said in a press release that the money will be used for “critical infrastructure improvements” for local businesses, including the pellet plant that will produce over 3 million metric tons of pellets each year. The wood pellets will primarily be exported to the United Kingdom and Europe.
The project is expected to create 90 jobs.
“This investment from the Economic Development Administration will help George County transform forestry resources into industrial growth and jobs for the region,” said Sen. Roger Wicker, R-MS.
The grant will pay for road, water and wastewater improvements at the industrial park through the Southern Mississippi Planning and Development District.
Residents turned out at a May 15 hearing of the the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality to show their support for the project. Several said they expect it to greatly improve the local economy.
“This grant is crucial for Enviva and George County,” said Gov. Phil Bryant. The state Legislature has appropriated more than $2 million to fix the rail spur between Lucedale and a $60 million shipping terminal in Pascagoula.