Andrews City Officials React to AREVA Decision

by Mary Lou Morga
NewsWest 9

ANDREWS - After almost a year of putting their blood, sweat, and tears into the AREVA Project, Andrews officials earned they will not be the home of a 2 billion dollar uranium enrichment plant.

AREVA, a French based company, announced this week they had chosen a site in Idaho instead.

NewsWest Nine mobile news bureau traveled to Andrews to talk to city officials about the possible reasons why they missed out on an opportunity of a life time.

"Of course we were disappointed, but found out a lot about ourselves, our abilities to project a great image, have great programs in place for incentives for projects," Wesley Burnett, Director of Economic Development for the City of Andrews, said.

After making the list of top five possible sites, Andrews officials found out on Tuesday that they didn't make the final cut.

"They said our workforce challenge here in Andrews and in West Texas. In general with the number of people available for jobs, but also electricity cost were also a big factor," Burnett said.

Two major factors they simply could not overcome.

"There were a lot of factors beyond our control involved in this decision. So we did what we could and our state government did what they could do in this deal," Burnett said.

According to Wesley Burnett, Idaho's legislative process also played an important role in AREVA's decision.

"They were in session and they could meet immediately on this project.  They passed some very favorable state legislation on sales tax rebates and property value limitations on a project of this magnitude, which ended up being a very huge factor in this whole deal," Burnett said.

Although the City of Andrews did not get the chance of a life time, they are already making changes to ensure they seal the deal next time.

"Right now as we speak, our workforce coordinator is at a job fair in another part of the State that is having a major layoff of 700 - 800 employees," Burnett added.

For now, the City of Andrews will continue looking at the future as the city on the move.

"We just keep moving forward, we've got a lot to build on here. We identified a lot of property here in Andrews County that is available for this, we identified the resources available on how to get those out there to different sites, we build on this and promote," Burnett said.