Meridian, Miss. After gaining approval from the Mississippi Public Service Commission, Atmos Energy will begin construction of 23 miles of natural gas pipelines next year. Mississippi Public Service Commissioner Lynn Posey was on hand to help make the announcement, and says the area has been trying to get gas for a while, and is glad to finally see it coming together.
"We've come up with a plan that's going to help them get gas to all the industrial parks, which I think would mean a lot to the county, Meridian, and the surrounding areas."
President of Atmos Energy's operations in Mississippi, David Gates, says that natural gas hasn't always been popular, but its low prices and abundant supply make it very attractive for the type of industries this area is trying to attract.
"When you're going after these big and even medium size industrial prospects, they want everything. They want you to bring the site to them. They want a package, and this is part of that package."
Currently, the only building in any of the three industrial parks that has natural gas is the old Handy Hardware building. EMBDC President Wade Jones says that the addition of the lines will allow the parks to expand for new industries, and the strength of the lines will support further growth as well.
"It makes a us now a player not just for heating a building, but for the manufacturing process, and natural gas used as an energy source. In the past where we may have been immediately eliminated because we didn't have gas, now we will receive consideration by prospective companies."
The project is expected to be completed in three phases over six years without using any public funds.