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Here is today's summary of economic development news, a free service of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, representing Alabama's private sector investment in economic development.  If you enjoy NewsFlash, thank an EDPA Partner


In this issue:
Economic development plan unveiled for Calhoun County
International Shipholding to acquire marine transport company
Alabama officials vow to fight BP settlement
Alabama Power agrees to 20-year wind power deal


Economic development plan unveiled for Calhoun County

By: Patrick McCreless


Local leaders recently received a plan to keep Calhoun County residents employed through marketing, education and development of industries built around skilled trades.

Produced by a Texas consulting firm for the Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce and the East Alabama Regional Planning and Development Commission, the plan is designed to help leaders deal with job losses at the Anniston Army Depot. The drawdowns of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars coupled with the ending of chemical weapons incineration in Anniston have placed potentially thousands of jobs at risk. The chamber and planning commission have therefore been working on a program to help the hundreds who already have been laid off.

The federally funded strategic plan cost approximately $350,000. It was paid for out of a $600,000 grant, the rest of which funded the chamber's Operation 1st Rate program, which helps find new work for displaced depot workers and others. Written by TIP Strategies of Austin, Texas, the plan recommends a six-part approach to the area's economic challenges that centers on its existing strengths.

The plan's recommendations include creating retention strategies for current workers; increased marketing of the labor force; strengthen connections with higher education providers; encouraging entrepreneurship; focusing more development at McClellan and expanding existing business recruitment activities.

"I think all of the recommendations are good ... I think they're doable," said Sherri Sumners, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce Foundation and overseer of Operation 1st Rate. "A lot of it we anecdotally know, but this gives us an implementation plan and some context."



[Anniston Star


International Shipholding to acquire marine transport company for $111 million

Published: Thursday, October 11, 2012, 10:50 AM    

By Ellen Mitchell | emitchell@al.com 


MOBILE, Alabama -- International Shipholding Corp. this morning announced an agreement to acquire Tampa, Fla.-based U.S. United Ocean Services LLC in a $111 million deal.


According to International Shipholding officials, the company will acquire a 100 percent ownership interest in U.S. United Ocean Services, a wholly-owned subsidiary of United Maritime Group LLC. The purchase will be in cash and is subject to customary closing adjustments.


U.S. United Ocean Services provides marine transportation services for dry bulk and break-bulk commodities in the United States and operates the largest U.S. Flag Jones Act dry bulk fleet today. 


International Shipholding said the acquisition would provide the company with increased scale and a more diverse product offering within the U.S. Flag Jones Act dry bulk transportation market.


"This acquisition enables management to capitalize on a growth opportunity in a niche market that is expected to be accretive to both earnings and free cash flow," International Shipholding CEO Niels Johnsen said in a statement. "We anticipate that this transaction will increase our contracted revenue stream to approximately 68% of total revenue in 2013."






Alabama officials vow to fight BP settlement

Published: Thursday, October 11, 2012, 2:34 PM    

By George Talbot | gtalbot@al.com 


GULF SHORES - Alabama political leaders today vowed to fight any deal between the U.S. Department of Justice and BP that would shift control of fine money from the 2010 oil spill to the federal government, away from the Gulf Coast states harmed by the catastrophe.


State and local elected officials said that any settlement with BP should be consistent with the Restore Act, federal legislation signed by President Barack Obama in July. The law stipulates that 80 percent of any penalties under the Clean Water Act should be distributed to the Gulf Coast states.


The Press-Register reported Oct. 1 that the Justice Department was discussing a proposal that would shift more of the fines away from Restore and toward a Natural Resource Damages assessment, a move that would give the federal government more control over how the money is spent.


The legal maneuver also would give BP a significant tax benefit, potentially saving the British oil company billions of dollars.


"We believe that Congress has spoken and that Restore is a primary, effective way to distribute the money," U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Mobile, said at a news conference today in Gulf Shores. "Our concern today is that the Restore Act might be diminished."







Alabama Power agrees to 20-year wind power deal with TradeWind Energy


Alabama Power Co. has reached a 20-year deal to purchase wind power from TradeWind Energy LLC.


The Birmingham-based utility will purchase 202 megawatts of power from the $300 million Buffalo Dunes Wind Project that will be built on 42,000 acres in rural Kansas.


The deal was approved by the Alabama Public Service Commission last month.


It's the second wind project Lenexa, Kan.-based TradeWind has worked with Alabama Power on, and the third project for the company delivering power to the Southeast.


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Enjoy the day, 

Val Walton
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