Supervisors OK amendment to Enviva deal

Published 11:37 am Wednesday, February 26, 2014

COURTLAND—The Southampton County Board of Supervisors on Monday approved an amendment to an agreement made two years ago with Enviva Pellets and the Industrial Development Authority of Southampton County.

County Administrator Michael Johnson first gave the board and public some background.

Originally, Enviva wanted a natural gas line extended to its plant site, and would pay for it at the company’s expense. The County was to pay $70,000 in incentive grants annually for a decade, which would make up for capital costs.

On Jan. 22, 2013, Enviva paid $871,120 to the County for that line. Six days later, IDA contracts with Columbia Gas of Virginia for the extension, and a non-refundable $444,000-plus was paid for construction. In addition, $426,478 goes for the commercial line extension agreement with rebates to Enviva based on use.

On March 11, 2013, Enviva informs the County that it might not need the natural gas, after all. Written notice followed on July 19 that the company would not need the line.

CGV, Enviva and the County have since come up with what Amanda Jarratt referred to later as a modified timeline.

First, Enviva is no longer obligated to extend a gas line to its site.

Second, Columbia will keep that $444,000 to build a gas line from the Ashland (Hercules) chemical plant to the future Hampton Farms Peanut Butter facility on Rose Valley Road, said Jarratt, president of the Franklin-Southampton Economic Development Inc.

Third, the County will put $426,278 in escrow for a gas line to go from Route 671 to the Turner Tract.

Fourth, Enviva will get $70,000 on Feb. 5, 2014 and Feb. 5, 2014, with $84,388 on Feb.5, 2016. In addition, there would be forgiveness of payments for the sale of the property totaling $617,369.80.

Enviva also has an option to ask for gas service at no additional cost within three years. But if the company changes its mind after that time, it could still use that $426,000, but would pay for any additional expenses.

The Enviva logo could be painted on the County water tank, but its incentive grant would be cut by $30,000.

With no discussion among the board members, Vice Chairman Ronnie West said, “Let’s adopt,” and they did unanimously.