Kentucky lawmakers want $15M aluminum mill investment back


ASHLAND, KY (WOWK) – Formerly known as Braidy Industries, Unity Aluminum representatives say they’re still pushing forward. However, those who live in the area say they’re not getting their hopes up.

The city of Ashland, Kentucky has the slogan “A proud past and bright future.” Many in the area were hoping the addition of a new aluminum mill would be part of that future, but after several delays due to several issues, the project is still an empty field.

In 2017, the state of Kentucky invested $15 million on a proposed $1.7 billion dollar aluminum mill. Representatives appeared before the Interim Joint Appropriation and Revenue Committee last Friday to answer questions on the project.

Unity Aluminum Vice President Nate Haney spoke, saying they are “very encouraged right now” and these past two years have been a “roller coaster ride.”

After several questions from senators and house members regarding their operations, Senator Christian McDaniel said he wanted to “cut to the chase” asking the question “Why don’t you repay your $15 million to the state?”

Haney responded, saying that’s a question he could not answer, to which Senator McDaniel replied directly with plans of future action.

I will be very direct to you and to the public. I will be filing a bill this year that demands your repayment of these incentives.

Sen. Christian McDaniel, (R) Kentucky

We spoke with residents in Ashland, Kentucky and many share different opinions on the subject. Residents like Bob Kerr say they are “frustrated with the lack of follow-through”, while other residents like Ashley Hall say they are hopeful.

I would be very happy to see them come to fruition and come to our area. I do think it would be just a great thing if it eventually gets to happen.

Ashley Hall, Ashland resident

Haney also commented they will not release any information on fundraising efforts and they are not planning on asking for another project extension in March 2022.

To watch the full Interim Joint Appropriation and Revenue Committee meeting, click here.

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