Leader of Ky. conservation group sees aluminum promise in tax credit opportunity

Republished from WEKU.


Kentucky has historically held a significant position when it comes to primary aluminum production. That’s an issue which could generate some discussion in Frankfort this session.

Kentucky Conservation Committee’s Lane Boldman said the pure grade aluminum industry decline has seen the number of smelters go from 20 a decade ago to about a half dozen. Yet, Boldman noted aluminum is in high demand, due to electric battery and vehicle production. Boldman added word that aluminum qualifies for a federal advanced manufacturing tax credit offers optimism.

“I think there’s an opportunity here using these tax credits to get these plants cleaned up, modernized, and still produce the aluminum we need for the new economy,” said Boldman.

West Kentucky’s smelter at Hawesville has been idled for more than two years due primarily to high energy costs. Owensboro Senator Gary Boswell said there are efforts underway to see the plant re-open.

“The longer a plant stays idle the more difficult it is to be able to reopen cause it’s like anything else…machinery..things corrode and it’s just a series of things happen when a plant’s idled,” said Boswell.

Boswell said the idling of the Hawesville plant affected some 600 employees. Kentucky is home to a second Century Aluminum smelter in Sebree.

Boldman, meanwhile, said an increase in aluminum production in a cleaner fashion is needed instead of relying on aluminum from China or Russia with poorer environmental standards.

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Originally published by WEKU.

Republished with permission.