Alabama Governor Kay Ivey has awarded a $750,000 (€632,000) grant to help create 85 new jobs and increase commerce in Sumter County and the state’s Black Belt region.
The Sumter County Commission will use funds to improve infrastructure necessary for Enviva, which is investing more than $140 million (€118 million) in building a wood pellet production facility at the Port of Epes Industrial Park along the Tombigbee River.
Earlier this year, Governor Ivey awarded a $600,000 (€505,000) grant through the state’s Inland Port Infrastructure Programme to make improvements at the Port of Epes to attract industry and improve commerce on the Tombigbee and other rivers in the state.
Governor Ivey said: “This project will produce much-needed jobs in Sumter County and throughout much of Alabama’s Black Belt region. In addition to quality jobs at the plant, the area’s forestry industry will also feel a positive impact because of the plant’s reliance on wood sources.”
The Community Development Block Grant funds will be used to provide water and sewer services to the Enviva plant. The company’s pellet mill in Epes is projected to produce around 600,000 tonnes of pellets annually, to be exported to Europe and Asia.
The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) is administering the grant from funds made available by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Kenneth Boswell, ADECA director, said: “No one more than Governor Ivey realises how vital jobs are in Alabama and particularly the state’s Black Belt region. ADECA is committed to helping Governor Ivey achieve her desire to attract new or expanding industry and ensure that Alabamians, no matter where they live, have the opportunity to obtain good-paying jobs.”