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Relocating oil refinery to Rusk County could impact job market

By Angela Ward award@news-journal.com
March 5, 2012 at 10 p.m.


HENDERSON - The Rusk County Commissioners Court approved a letter of recommendation on Monday for the relocation of the Gregg County Refinery to Rusk County.

The refinery's Longview location has not been operational since 1992. It cannot be expanded in the current location because it is surrounded by developed property, said John Kennon, vice president of business development.

The proposed site is a 165-acre tract on the north side of Texas 323 near New London. Kennon estimates that about 400 people would be temporarily employed during the construction of the refinery and that it would have a permanent workforce of 80 to 100 employees.

"Rusk County has been very hospitable and supportive of our desire to relocate here," Kennon said. "With the increase in oil prices and new refining technologies, it's once again becoming economically feasible to operate smaller refineries."

County Judge Joel Hale said that the construction and operation of the refinery would be of great value to Rusk County. The letter, which was approved unanimously, gave the court's "whole and unwavering support" for the project.

"We want to have as much public support as possible going into the permitting process," Kennon said.

The company hopes to begin construction within 120 days. Estimated cost for the project is $266 million.

In other business, the court approved the installation of a remote automated weather station (RAWS) by the Texas Forest Service at the Rusk County Airport.

The RAWS is being installed at the south end of the airport and there will be no cost to the county to have it there, airport manager David Dumas said.

The court heard a presentation from James Pike and Darrell Riley on expanding the services of the services of the American Red Cross within the county and approved a proclamation declaring March as American Red Cross month.

"We're trying to get more local volunteers for our agency, so that we can have more immediate responses when disaster strikes," Riley said. "Right now we don't have any affiliated shelters in Rusk County, but we're trying to get something set up."

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