City gets $1.7M grant to extend water, sewer to Chemtex

By Chris Berendt

June 12, 2014

The City of Clinton has received $1.7 million in grant funding that will pay half the cost to extend infrastructure to a biofuels project anticipated to bring 65 jobs and more than $150 million in taxable investment to the area.

The federal grant funding, in the amount of $1,758,150, will be used to construct water and sewer infrastructure to support the new Chemtex (Carolina Cellulosic Biofuels) plant in the city of Clinton. Congress has appropriated, and the United States Economic Development Administration awarded, the grant.

“Good quality water is vital to every home and business. These federal funds will help bring water services to the new state-of-the-art biofuels plant in Clinton and help us create jobs in the local community,” U.S. Representative Mike McIntyre said in a prepared statement making the grant announcement. “It is good to see our taxpayer dollars coming home to make a difference.”

McIntyre congratulated all who worked to receive the grant funds. Clinton city manager Shawn Purvis said Wednesday the grant will greatly benefit the city and county in paying for a total project that costs $3,516,300.

“We have been working on this grant since last September and were hopeful that we would receive it,” Purvis stated. “We knew we had a strong application and have included the grant in our capital planning already.”

The proposed refinery, expected to be located at a 40-acre site at Clinton Industrial Rail Park on Turkey Highway (N.C. 24), will make ethanol from plants other than corn, producing 20 million gallons per year of cellulosic biofuel from locally-grown energy grasses, agricultural residues and woody biomass, which will reduce levels of greenhouse emissions.

The plant would be the first commercial-scale, advanced biorefinery in the United States, with the first having been constructed in Crescentino, Italy, in December 2012.

The local plant is expected to be operational by 2016. The 65 full-time jobs at the plant would have an average salary of $48,415.

Tax revenues are anticipated at $7.8 million over a 10-year period, Economic developer John Swope noted during a presentation in March to the Sampson Board of Commissioners. Of the $7.8 million in tax revenues, the county will receive 58 percent of them — about $4.5 million — after $3.3 million in grant back incentives.

Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 121. Follow us on twitter @SampsonInd.