Rusk County refinery. Will it happen this time?
Last year, things were looking great for the town of New London and the West Rusk School District.
Aoil refinery was going to be built just outside town, providing jobs and much needed revenue for a pretty poor community.
But the refinery deal fell apart, but now the school board has been told, it's back on with new people.
But first, let's take you back to a story we did a little over a year ago.
To be brutally honest, there isn't much to New London as you drive in.
Ironically, at one time, the West Rusk School District was one of the richest in the state. But since the oil boom ended, they have fallen on hard times.
But soon, what comes out of the ground here, will be refined, right over there.
The old Gregg County refinery, built in 1935, has been closed for some time.
Well now, it will be dismantled, upgraded, and rebuilt in a 160 acre site just a mile and a quarter from New London.
Now, all that you just saw was over a year ago, and ground still hasn’t been broken on the plant.
We checked with the river authority and the funding is still in place. But the company putting the deal together has been completely reorganized.
“It just didn’t happen. For reasons whatsoever, it didn’t come together,” says Former oilman Miles Toler, the manager of the New London Museum.
“So, we formed a new company, which is Rusk County Refining, with Colin Ferguson as the CEO,” Toler says. “The thought of the deal was, it was such a good idea we’ll utilize the original site.”
The Gregg County refinery is apparently out. This refinery is going to come from where?
“Puerto Rico. It’s a Shell refinery shut down in 2008,” Toler says.
Now the folks in New London have been burned before, by the first refinery group and the scholarship mess.
We asked if there were many skeptics in the room when you made your presentation?
“Not in the group,” he said. “And I think it’s the fact that everybody on the school board, and everybody that night said, ‘that’s Miles Toler, and we know Miles Toler.’”