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County looking to buy land from alternative fuel company

NATCHEZ — Adams County officials are continuing talks on buying the former International Paper site from Rentech.

The Natchez Democrat reports supervisors met Monday and board attorney Scott Slover said no decision has been made.

The IP mill was once home to the area’s biggest employer but was shuttered in 2003.

Rentech purchased the property in 2008 with plans to build a coal-to-liquids fuel plant on the site. Rentech announced late last year that it had scrapped its plans and put the site up for sale in mid-March.

The site’s deed was transferred to a Rentech subsidiary, Gulf Coast Synthetic Energy, LLC. The listed price is $8.5 million.

The site includes what remains of the IP pulp mill and includes rail access and valuable Mississippi River access. Most valuable to the county is the site’s massive wastewater treatment plant.

Natchez Water Works superintendent David Gardner recently estimated the former IP plant’s capacity is about 40 million gallons per day.

Local economic developers have said the city’s existing wastewater treatment plant does not have enough capacity to handle much more heavy industrial waste water.

“We look at that sewage treatment need as a problem, or part of the puzzle, we have to resolve for the future of our industrial expansion,” Slover said.

Supervisor Mike Lazarus said if the county ends up consummating the land deal, he hopes the county can sell all or part of it to taxpaying businesses quickly.

“We’re still negotiating with Rentech,” Lazarus said, adding the county has already been approached by businesses that may want to purchase portions of the site.

“We have several suitors interested in pieces of the property once we get it,” he said.

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