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Pence renews talks over $2.1B fertilizer plant

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Indiana economic development officials have renewed talks with developers who want to build a $2.1 billion fertilizer plant in southwestern Indiana, one year after the state withdrew its support for the project over national security concerns.

The state withdrew financial support last May for the plant proposed by Midwest Fertilizer Co. after a military official raised the prospect of the company's involvement in the making of roadside bombs in Afghanistan.

Midwest Fertilizer Co. is owned by the Fatima Group, a company based in Lahore, Pakistan, that already manufactures fertilizer in the south Asian country.

But Gov. Mike Pence announced Tuesday that the state was renewing talks with the company after a review by the U.S. Department of Defense found the project's developers have been cooperating with the government.

"Following Indiana's withdrawal of support for this project, U.S. officials have reported that the government of Pakistan and Fatima Group have provided an unprecedented level of cooperation and transparency in addressing the concerns that precipitated the withdrawal of our support," Pence said in a prepared statement Tuesday.

Pentagon officials who spoke with Pence this week confirmed that an experimental fertilizer formula being developed by the Fatima Group would be harder to use in the construction of bombs, according to the statement. U.S. officials also told Pence the government of Pakistan and the Fatima Group are making it harder for terrorists and extremists to obtain the company's products.

"This week, the state of Indiana was informed that our defense experts completed the second series of tests on the experimental formula and described Fatima Group's efforts to improve the safety of its fertilizer as 'commendable,'" Pence said in the statement.

Pence first learned about concerns with the project the same month he took office last year, then decided in May to withdraw the state's support so his administration could review it.

The state originally supported building the plant in the Port of Mt. Vernon. But the plant would now be built on a different 219-acre site near the Ohio River, after approval last year from the Posey County Commissioners. Plant officials told Evansville Courier & Press last fall they plan to produce urea ammonium nitrate, a fertilizer that is not used in explosives.

Posey County officials quickly stepped in last year after the state withdrew its support and offered financial incentives to the developers, including $1.3 billion in bond sales to finance the project. The county effectively filled the role that the Indiana Finance Authority had been filling when it first offered the financing.

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  • A quick Google search 14 plants currently under consideration
    A quick Google search shows that no new plants have been build in last 20 years...however 14 are now under consideration. A plant in North Dakota would cost only 1.3 billion...well under what India wants Indiana tax payers to provide. We could easily get a glut of fertilizer and no return if these other plants are build. (fertilizer is made from natural gas...lots of natural gas)
  • Tax payers should not be forced to be venture capilists.
    This is as bad as when the City of Greenwood lost the $13,000,000 for the "generic insulin plant". The city was sold "you can't lose money”. And then we lost everything plus accounting and legal fees. Government should not selectively pay for a business to locate. This is not free enterprise. Government, as in the Greenwood insulin plant, does not have the skill or knowledge to invest in this business. They didn’t have the skills to monitor the spending of their investment dollars. This is high risk. If it was a good deal, venture funds would be jumping for the opportunity to contribute. We need a state law that prevents government from funding these schemes. I smell fraud....and I consider the Greenwood loss to be fraud. You shop around for governments officials who know little of the business. Have that government give you tax dollars to build a plant…where you will take profits if successful…and loose nothing if it fails. Not good for tax payers. Let the fertilizer plant issue stock or finance as other businesses. This is crazy for tax dollars. Look at the deal the tax payers got when the State of Indiana made a long term natural gas deal....we all lost.
  • Please read the entire article
    .... before you jump to conclusions (Maria, Sly). If you had actually made it to paragraph 4 you would have learned that the D.O.D. acknowledged that this company has been providing the information they require. This confirms that Pence has made the correct decision on both occasions. I am optimistic that this will provide some great benefits for the state. Job well done all around (except Maria, as per usual)
  • Amazing Maria (hater)
    Maria - I don't think there would be outrage but certainly uproar (positive uproar) because everyone would be amazed if Obama would actually do something to create new, full-time non-government jobs...I agree with you on that point!
  • Amazing
    Could you imagine the outrage and uproar that would be coming from the Republicans if it were Obama doing this?
    • Win for Indiana
      This is great news for Indiana and I commend Pence and his organization on their due diligence to in vetting this company. Even though this company was bringing jobs and major investment, he was bold enough to withdraw support until further investigating this company. Nice Job!
    • Honest to Goodness, Indiana!
      Indiana: No expense is too great when it comes to supporting any connected business, as long as it doesn't cost the actual business.
    • Pence is a RINO
      How anyone in either party can support this is beyond me! This is just another example of Pence's lack of a spine! Just the fact this company is suspected of having national security issues should be enough to anyone to stay away from it!
    • Great opportunity!
      This is a great opportunity for the State of Indiana. I'm excited to hear more as discussions progress.

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