Incentives Pulled For Planned Fertilizer Plant

Governor Mike Pence says a partial owner in the project has ties to improvised explosive devices that have been used in Afghanistan.

mike pence

Photo: Talk Radio News Service (flickr)

Governor Mike Pence said he did not feel comfortable giving Midwest Fertilizer incentives when the new product has not been tested.

Governor Mike Pence has withdrawn a package of state incentives offered to Midwest Fertilizer Corporation, the company that had planned to build a plant in Posey County.

A company based in Pakistan, the Fatima Group, owns 48 percent of Midwest Fertilizer. In December Lt. Gen. Michael Barbero, the director of the U.S. Department of Defense’s Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization, testified in a Senate hearing that the group had not been cooperative in efforts to reduce the threat of improvised explosive devices in Central and South Asia.

The governor put the incentives from the Indiana Economic Development Corporation on hold in January. Since then, Pence says state officials have worked with the Defense Department to conduct a review of the company.

Fatima Group says it has developed a less explosive product, but, in a statement, Pence says it will not be tested in time to satisfy the expected schedule for financing the Posey County project.

“I did not take this decision lightly. Economic development is important, but the safety and security of our soldiers in harm’s way is more important,” the governor said in a statement. “While we have been encouraged by promises made by Fatima Group to replace production of their current fertilizer with a more inert and less explosive formula in Pakistan, at this point in time, U.S. officials have not been able to independently confirm this fact and, as such, Indiana will not be moving forward with this project.”

Midwest Fertilizer officials said in a statement they were disappointed with the governor’s decision, adding that the $1.8 billion project in Mount Vernon would have created 2,500 jobs during the three-year construction period and 300 permanent jobs.

The company says it will not give up on building the plant, but instead is working with the Posey County Economic Development Partnership and the Economic Development Coalition of Southwest Indiana to reach a new agreement.

Officials say they have also implemented a new program in Pakistan that tracks products from the factory to their final destination on farms and the company has suspended sales of Calcium Ammonium Nitrate fertilizer to the Pakistani provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Baluchistan along the Afghan border.

Network Indiana contributed to this report.

Gretchen Frazee

Gretchen Frazee is a reporter/producer for WFIU and WTIU news. Prior to her current role, Frazee worked as the associate online content coordinator for WFIU/WTIU. She graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia where she studied multimedia journalism and anthropology. You can follow her on Twitter @gretchenfrazee.

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