October 14, 2010 11:59:00 AM
KiOR is turning into a bigger deal than expected.
The Lowndes County Port Authority is in the process of purchasing 7.4 acres of land from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on the southern half of the Columbus Island to accommodate the renewable crude oil manufacturer''s need for land.
Port Director John Hardy told his board of directors Wednesday KiOR would end up with 31 acres of land on the island. Originally, officials believed 23.67 acres of land already owned by the port authority would suffice.
"What the port authority owned was not quite large enough when they laid out their facility," said Hardy.
The corps of engineers has yet to appraise the land, but Hardy believes the cost, as was the case when the city and county purchased land for the soccer complex at Burns Bottom, will be "reasonable."
Georgia Pacific has also been issued a 30-day vacate notice to clear log stockpiles from several acres of land immediately north of the KiOR site.
KiOR and the port are currently performing soil and environmental tests on the proposed construction site. Testing is expected to wrap up by the end of the year with construction slated for January.
The port will also ask the corps, which owns all riverbank land along the Tennessee Tombigbee River and Waterway, to allow construction of a barge dock on the island. The port, city and county will likely share a 10-year state loan of up to $250,000 to fund the dock, from which KiOR will export its renewable crude oil.
Neel-Schaffer engineer Kevin Stafford spoke to the port authority board about road improvements running to the KiOR site. Possibilities include widening the Industrial Park Access Road to three lanes, with the third lane designated for logging trucks, or constructing new roads to create a one-way loop in and out of KiOR for the trucks.
Although Georgia Pacific''s use of the Southern Wood Fiber wood chipper has slowed recently, Hardy says log truck traffic has increased. The increase, he said, may be due to logging companies attempting to compensate for last year''s shortfall due to rainy weather.
KiOR will also use the chipper at Southern Wood Fiber.
The only action the board took was to authorize Hardy to advertise bids for repairs to the railroad spur, rail scale and barge winches at the port property currently leased by Logistics Services, and to attend the Mississippi Water Resources Association annual conference Nov. 3-5 in Bay St. Louis.
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