Governor McAuliffe Announces 40 New Jobs in Russell County
~Appalachian Biofuels LLC to invest $3.5 million in headquarters and new biodiesel production facility~
Governor Terry McAuliffe announced today that Appalachian Biofuels LLC will invest $3.5 million to establish its headquarters and enzymatic biodiesel production facility in Russell County. Virginia successfully competed against South Carolina for the project, which will create 40 new jobs paying above the prevailing average wage. Appalachian Biofuels is a new company that will process multiple waste feedstock material and refine it using an enzyme, developed and manufactured in Haifa, Israel, to produce biodiesel.
Speaking about today’s announcement, Governor McAuliffe said, “The addition of a new company and job creator in Russell County is tremendous for a region that has been hard hit by economic loss. Appalachian Biofuels has the advantage of locating its headquarters and center of operations in a formerly vacant facility that can be retrofitted to meet its needs, allowing for quick start-up to production. This green energy company processes multiple waste feedstock material and refines it to produce biofuel to be blended with petroleum diesel fuel as mandated by the federal government. My recently released Virginia Energy Plan aims to catalyze the growth of green energy companies in the Commonwealth, and we are proud that Appalachian Biofuels will produce this alternative fuel right here in Virginia. Jobs in the energy industry aid in our efforts to build a new Virginia economy with diverse opportunities for growth, and we look forward to the company’s success in the Commonwealth.”
“The energy industry in Virginia is gaining momentum, and we are proud that Appalachian Biofuels will join this thriving sector,” said Maurice Jones, Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade. “The company’s new headquarters and biodiesel production facility will play an important role in fulfilling Virginia’s increased commitment to alternative energy solutions. This project also strengthens Virginia’s business relationship with Israel, as the enzymes used in Appalachian Biofuels’ process are developed and manufactured in Haifa. Today is a significant win for the company, Russell County and the Commonwealth.”
“We were introduced to Southwest Virginia and to this new ‘immobilized enzyme’ through the Virginia Israel Advisory Board and its Director, Ralph Robbins,” said Chuck Lessin, President and CEO of Appalachian Biofuels LLC. “This revolutionary process will allow us to use the many tools, information and human resources that the Commonwealth has available. We are proud to be hiring former coal miners in the region who will transfer their significant experience in mining energy underground to our new green energy above ground in beautiful Russell County. We are excited to call Virginia our home, and we hope to grow and expand our business here in Southwest.”
The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with the Russell County Industrial Development Authority, the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA), and the Virginia Israel Advisory Board to secure the project for Virginia. Governor McAuliffe approved a $200,000 grant from the Governor’s Opportunity Fund to assist Russell County with the project. The Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission approved $210,000 in Tobacco Region Opportunity Funds for the project. The company qualifies for rail access funding from the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation, and will also be eligible for Sales and Use tax exemptions on equipment. Funding and services to support the company’s employee training activities will be provided through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program.
“Due to the tremendous support of Governor McAuliffe, the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, the Office of the Secretary of Commerce and Trade, the Virginia Israel Advisory Board, VCEDA, the Tobacco Commission, Russell County Board of Supervisors, the members of the Industrial Development Authority of Russell County, Virginia and our friends in Wise County and the Town of St. Paul, we are able to see people working and money invested in a building that has been empty for years,” said Harry Rutherford, Chairman of the IDA of Russell County. “This is a winner for all, unemployed coal miners going back to work, a green energy facility keeping a waste product out of our landfills, increased tax base and a morale booster for people of the area.”
Since the beginning of the McAuliffe Administration, 198 economic development deals have been closed in Virginia with over $4.74 billion in capital investment, the largest amount of capital investment brought to the Commonwealth in any Governor's first nine months in office.