GRANITE CITY, IL – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today joined state and local officials and representatives from United States Steel Corporation and SunCoke Energy, Inc. to break ground on the companies’ new manufacturing facilities in Granite City. The state’s investment will leverage millions in private investment that will result in the creation of approximately 70 new jobs and the retention of 2,200 jobs throughout the region. The investment package comes as a part of Opportunity Returns, the Governor’s comprehensive economic development strategy to create jobs and build the economy in Southwest Illinois.
“Making investments at the local level is one of the best ways to ensure every region of the state is meeting its economic potential, which is why we take such a unique, regional approach to economic development. We will continue to make good, solid investments in our businesses, which will not only help companies grow their bottom line, but also result in job creation and an increased quality of life in our communities,” said Gov. Blagojevich.
The Governor announced that SunCoke Energy, a wholly owned subsidiary of Sunoco, Inc., will build a heat recovery coke manufacturing facility contiguous to U. S. Steel’s steelmaking facility in Granite City. The new coke plant will include 120 heat recovery ovens capable of producing approximately 650,000 tons of screened blast furnace coke per year which will be sold to U. S. Steel under a 15-year contract. The coke facility will also supply energy to a new cogeneration plant that will be built, owned and operated by U.S. Steel.
“By providing support to these companies, we are helping them stay productive and profitable and at the same time investing in the strength and vitality of this region. I am committed to continuing to do what I can to retain and create more good jobs for the people of Southwest Illinois,” said Rep. Thomas Holbrook (D-Belleville).
“I’m pleased that U. S. Steel and SunCoke have chosen to expand their operations here in Illinois. With increasing competition, it’s more important than ever that we are able to make smart investments to ensure businesses can succeed in the global market, which translates into opportunities for more jobs and greater economic development locally,” said Sen. William Haine (D-Alton).
“This expansion is evidence that Southwestern Illinois has the infrastructure, financial capital, human capital, and state-level support to help companies succeed. We hope this will be one of many investments to this region,” said Rep. Jay Hoffman (D-Collinsville).
“U. S. Steel Granite City Works’ more than 2,000 dedicated employees and their predecessors have made this facility a key contributor to the local economy for more than 100 years, while supplying high-quality flat rolled carbon sheet steel to the construction, container, pipe and tube, service center, and electrical industries. This significant new investment demonstrates U. S. Steel’s commitment to environmental stewardship, highlights our commitment to Granite City and the surrounding communities, and helps to ensure that our entire company remains well positioned in an increasingly competitive global industry,” said U. S. Steel Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer John Goodish.
“This project shows what is possible when business, government and the community work together and find common ground. Building the new cokemaking facility will result in hundreds of temporary construction jobs and about 70 permanent operating and maintenance positions. Along with our partner U.S. Steel, we look forward to playing a role in the region’s future,” said Michael J. Thomson, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of SunCoke Energy, Inc.
DCEO is administering the business investment package. It includes Economic Development for a Growing Economy (EDGE) corporate income tax credits over the next ten years based on job creation, Employer Training Investment Program (ETIP) job training funds that will help enhance the skills of its workforce. In addition, the companies will benefit from being located in an Illinois Enterprise Zone, and will receive state and local tax incentives, regulatory relief, and improved governmental services.
“With investments like these we are continuing to build the economy and strengthen our communities. I’m happy SunCoke and U.S. Steel are expanding their presence in this region and that we were able to offer support to make that possible,” said Rep. Dan Beiser (D-Alton).
“By investing in companies like U. S. Steel and SunCoke we are continuing to respond to the needs of Illinois’ businesses to ensure they continue to experience success. When our businesses are successful, they produce more jobs, bring increased economic development and help enhance our communities. We look forward to the continued and prosperous growth of these two companies and greater development in the future,” Director Jack Lavin said.
United States Steel Corporation, headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is an integrated steel producer with major production operations in the United States, Canada and Central Europe and an annual raw steelmaking capability of 31.7 million net tons. The company manufactures a wide range of value-added steel sheet and tubular products for the automotive, appliance, container, industrial machinery, construction, and oil and gas industries.
SunCoke Energy, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Sunoco, Inc., furnishes metallurgical coke to integrated steelmakers that use blast furnace technology. The company has served the steel industry for more than 40 years and produces over 4.2 million tons of coke each year at its plants in Vansant, Virginia; East Chicago, Indiana; Haverhill, Ohio; and Vítoria, Brazil. Currently under construction, a second coke facility at Haverhill is expected to start production in the second half of 2008. SunCoke Energy possesses the only proven, clean, heat recovery technology in the world that conforms to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s “Maximum Achievable Control Technology” emissions standard and offers steam or electric power as an emission-free byproduct.
Gov. Blagojevich’s Opportunity Returns regional economic development strategy is the most aggressive, comprehensive approach to creating jobs in Illinois’ history. Since a one-size-fits-all approach to economic development just doesn’t work, the Governor has divided the state into 10 regions – each with a regional team that is empowered and expected to rapidly respond to opportunities and challenges. Opportunity Returns is about tangible, specific actions to make each region more accessible, more marketable, more entrepreneurial and more attractive to businesses. It is about upgrading the skills of the local workforce, increasing the access to capital, opening new markets, improving infrastructure, and creating and retaining jobs. Opportunity Returns is about successfully partnering with companies and communities, both large and small, to help all of Illinois reach its economic potential.