By Alan Reed
Tribune-Courier News Editor
CALVERT CITY –Ashland Chemical’s Calvert City plant has announced a $15 million improvement.
The plant will replace a coal-fired boiler and an aging gas-fired boiler with three new heat-recovery steam generators.
The system will support plant operations during power outages, such the ice storm of 2009.
Gov. Steve Beshear presided over the announcement Wednesday.
Construction will begin next month, and be in operation by spring of 2014.
According to a press release, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority has preliminarily approved tax incentives for Ashland, under the name of its subsidiary ISP Chemicals, for up to $5.5 million through the Kentucky Reinvestment Act (KRA). KRA is designed to assist companies that need to make significant capital investment in Kentucky facilities in order to remain competitive. The improvement will allow Ashland to retain 500 full-time jobs at the Calvert City plant.
“This is really great news. We’re excited about any announcement like this,” Joshua Tubbs, director of Marshall County Economic Development, said. “It shows Ashland has a lot of confidence in our workforce and the county as a location in a global marketplace.”
James J. O’Brien, Ashland’s chairman and CEO, said the new boilers will increase efficiency and improve the company’s ability to compete.
“Calvert City will play an important role in Ashland’s growth, particularly as we expand our presence in personal care products. We are grateful for the support of Gov. Beshear and the Cabinet for Economic Development in this important investment in our workforce and in Kentucky’s future.” O’Brien said.
Calvert City Mayor Lynn Jones said the new boilers would also improve air quality in the area. He thanked Ashland for the investment in the plant.
According to a press release, Ashland provides specialty chemicals and technologies to customers in a wide range of consumer and industrial markets in more than 100 countries. The Calvert City facility, first built in 1955, was purchased by Ashland in August 2011, when it completed the acquisition of International Specialty Products.
“This is really great news for our community, especially for the 500 employees whose jobs are now more secure,” said State Representative. Will Coursey. “I want to thank Ashland for taking this step to invest more in this plant and look forward to the day next year when the project is up and running. I also want to thank our local and state officials for working together to help make this possible.”