Darlene Carter voiced the feelings of many local residents when asked by Utah's Gov. Norm Bangerter what she thought about the relocation of Pacific Engineering and Production Co. to Cedar City.
"I'm excited. I hope my husband gets a job out here. He's working in Nevada and we've met in Ely three times this summer in order to see each other, and I just hope he gets hired out here."Carter may have a little bit of an edge since she is a granddaughter of George Washington Hunter, whose family has worked out a land deal with PEPCON for the acreage 15 miles west of Cedar City where the company will build its new plant. Carter and two cousins were among those who followed Bangerter over a dusty road to the site as the governor got a first-hand look at the PEPCON location.
While visiting the desert site, Bangerter said he is "one who believes that Utah is on the threshold of what I would term being discovered, and everything that we attract to the state helps all of us in our recruitment efforts."
He added, "Utah has been sending the right messages, and those messages are getting out. We're having more success than we've had in a long time, and this is one of those successes."
Bangerter said government is a big player in everybody's business. "We don't always like that, but everyone recognizes that regulation, cooperation from city, county, state and other government entities is absolutely essential if you're going to have a successful enterprise."
Keith Rooker, executive vice president and general counsel for PEPCON, accompanied the governor to the site along with Iron County Commissioner Jim Robinson and Cedar City mayor Robert Linford. Rooker said the company is ready to begin actual construction but they are waiting for the final approval of financing.
"We're in a series of negotiations with agencies of the federal government and with our customers and vendors." Rooker said he hoped the negotiations will be finalized soon.
Rooker pointed out the exact location of the new plant and said power would come from a substation west of Cedar City, 15 miles away. He said natural gas lines would stop before actually entering the new plant for added safety.
When asked by Bangerter if natural gas was the problem in the Henderson, Nev., explosion, Rooker said it was the key to the problem although there were three other factors involved. Rooker said gas produced all the heat that triggered the explosion.
Southwest Gas Co. officials said a week ago that their investigations indicated natural gas was not the cause of the May 4 explosions at the plant in Henderson. Gas company officials in Las Vegas said their series of extensive tests recently conducted show there were no leaks in natural gas lines inside or near the plant.
Rooker said it will be November before the firm will be ready to hire local workers.
PEPCON will manufacture ammonium perchlorate at the site and is one of two companies in the United States that make the substance, a solid rocket fuel oxidizer vital to the nation's defense and space programs.