Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Virginia plans to put tobacco-settlement money into coal-to-liquid research facility in mountains

The Virginia Tobacco Commission, which distributes grants from the state's share of the national settlement with cigarette manufacturers, plans to give $1 million to a proposed coal research and development facility at the Lonesome Pine Business and Technology Park just east of Wise, near the Kentucky border. So reports Jodi Deal of The Coalfield Progress in Norton.

The commission will meet at Mountain Empire Community College in Big Stone Gap Oct. 25, County Administrator Glen “Skip” Skinner reminded county commissioners last week, with a big grin, noting that "he’d just arrived from a meeting of the commission’s Southwest Virginia Economic Development Committee," Deal wrote, quoting him: "They may be bringing us a present."

The committee endorsed a staff recommendation that the coal-research facility get $1 million and a proposed data center get $450,000. "Coal companies and Virginia Tech are expected to work together at the facility, which is eventually intended to support a coal-to-liquid fuels industry throughout the coalfields and seek out other alternative energy sources, according to the county’s application to the tobacco commission," Deal reports. "About 200 new high-wage jobs would likely be created at the facility, the grant application notes." (Read more, subscription required) UPDATE, Oct. 30: The Progress reports on the grant awards.

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