SENATOR MURKOWSKI SADDENED BY LOSS OF AGRIUM COAL GASIFICATION PROJECT
WASHINGTON, D.C. –Senator Lisa Murkowski today expressed her disappointment that the Agrium Corp. was unable to secure financing to proceed with a coal gasification project on the Kenai Peninsula that could have permitted the company’s urea and nitrogen fertilizer plant at Nikiski to reopen.
“It is severely disappointing that after all the years spent trying to facilitate the Agrium Blue Skies project, it will not go through,” said Senator Murkowski. “It is disheartening to not only the more than 200 former workers of the plant, or to the citizens of the Kenai area, but also to the entire state, that an opportunity to develop 21st century technology that would have converted the state’s abundant coal resources into value-added products has slipped away.”
Senator Murkowski is a longtime supporter of the Agrium Blue Skies project. In 2005 she championed federal funding enabling the Denali Commission and the State to fund feasibility studies into the coal gasification project. She also helped win amendments in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 encouraging federal grants to help fund the use of carbon dioxide to enhance oil recovery from Cook Inlet fields as well as provide tax breaks to aid in financing the Blue Skies project.
“I will continue to pursue aid for energy projects that will benefit the peninsula’s economy,” said Senator Murkowski. “I am hopeful that through either a gas line or new exploration and gas discoveries, eventually a fertilizer plant in Cook Inlet will be able to reopen.”
Senator Murkowski this winter also petitioned the Department of Labor to repeal a previous ruling denying worker aid, an appeal effort that resulted in Agrium workers winning Trade Adjustment Assistance worker relocation, health care and job retraining benefits as a result of the plant’s late fall closure.