Steel mill project documents delivered to Legislature


LITTLE ROCK —The Arkansas Economic Development Commission on Thursday delivered to the Legislature a commitment letter signed by Big River Steel and the state, along with other documents, relating to a proposed $1.1 billion steel mill in Mississippi County.

Under Amendment 82, delivery of the documents started a 20-day period in which the Legislature must review the proposal and decide whether to authorize issuance of $125 million in general revenue bonds for the project.

The deal, which would bring 525 new jobs averaging $75,000 a year, is contingent upon legislative approval of the bond issue.

House Speaker Davy Carter, R-Cabot, said Thursday that he and Senate President Pro Tem Michael Lamoureux, R-Russellville, have sought bids from analysts to study the proposal and make recommendations. He said he hoped to get bids back Friday and expects the analysis to cost into the tens of thousands of dollars.

“We are statutorily required to do this. We’re not doing this just because,” Carter said.

He said a decision on which analyst to hire would not be made until he talks with Lamoureux and others involved.

“We’ll have the weekend to visit with each other, and I’m sure we’ll do that,” he said.

Lamoureux did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment Thursday.

Gov. Mike Beebe and officials with Big River Steel LLC announced the project last month. The Legislature will decide the bond issue under authority of Amendment 82, the so-called superproject amendment approved by voters in 2004.