EDA-funded infrastructure improvements to aid Enviva pellet plant

By Erin Voegele | June 25, 2019

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration is awarding $1.4 million to a project in Lucedale, Mississippi, that will benefit a proposed 1.4-million-metric-ton-per-year wood pellet plant under development by Enviva.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced the grant on June 20. The $1.4 million will be awarded to the George County Board of Supervisors in Lucedale to make critical infrastructure improvements to the George County Industrial Park. This includes roadway, water and wastewater improvements.

According to the Commerce Department, the improved industrial site will accommodate local business needs, including the development of a wood pellet plant under development by Enviva that will produce more than 1.4 million metric tons of wood pellets annually, primarily for export to the U.K. and Europe.

“I commend George County for working to improve its economy. These EDA resources will help ensure the appropriate infrastructure is in place to support jobs and manufacturing,” said Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss. “The new pellet plant is a win for this rural region and for the Mississippi forestry industry. 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 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 Rep. Steven Palazzo, R-Miss. “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.”

In its first quarter 2019 investor call, held May 9, Enviva said it expects the draft permit for the Lucedale plant to become final this summer. In the meantime, the company said major equipment has been ordered and key contracts for the project have been executed. 

The $1.4 million in from the Commerce Department is funded under the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, in which Congress appropriated $600million in additional Economic Adjustment Assistance 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.