U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross recently announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $1.4 million grant to the George County Board of Supervisors, Lucedale, Mississippi, to make critical infrastructure improvements to the George County Industrial Park.
“Since day one, the Trump Administration has worked hard to revitalize the manufacturing industry in the United States,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “This investment in infrastructure for the George County Industrial Park will help grow the U.S. economy and support America’s exporters.”
The improved industrial site will accommodate local business needs, including the development of the Enviva wood pellet plant that will produce over three million metric tons of pellets annually, primarily for export to the United Kingdom and Europe. According to grantee estimates, the project is expected to create 90 jobs.
“This grant is crucial for Enviva and George County,” said Governor Bryant. “EDA’s investment in this project will further strengthen Mississippi’s status as a leader in economic development. I am grateful for Secretary Ross and his team for their continued support.”
The project will fund roadway, water and wastewater improvements for the George County Industrial Park to support the wood pellet plant and other businesses. The project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the Southern Mississippi Planning and Development District. EDA funds the Southern Mississippi Planning and Development District to bring together the public and private sectors to create an economic development roadmap to strengthen the regional economy, support private capital investment and create jobs.
“Mississippi is blessed with a strong industrial base and local leaders who are committed to advancing the economic prospects of our state,” said Senator Roger Wicker. “This investment from the Economic Development Administration will help George County transform forestry resources into industrial growth and jobs for the region.”
Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith added her approval for the grant saying The EDA resources will help ensure the appropriate infrastructure is put in place to support the jobs and manufacturing.
“The new pellet plant is a win for this rural region and for the Mississippi forestry industry,” said Hyde-Smith. “As I’ve said before, our forestry industry prides itself on being able to use every part of every harvested tree. In this case, meeting the demand for wood fiber will mean more jobs and investment in South Mississippi.”
This project is funded under the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, in which Congress appropriated to EDA $600 million in additional Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) Program funds for disaster relief and recovery as a result of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, wildfires and other calendar year 2017 natural disasters under the Stafford Act.
“This grant will support the continued development of George County’s Industrial Park by investing in infrastructure to increase wood pellet production and bringing jobs to Mississippi,” said Congressman Steven Palazzo. “The wood pellet plant represents a long term commitment to both the community and economy of the region. I am glad to know the President and his Administration also remain committed to revitalizing American manufacturing and growing our state’s economy.”