USW drops partner in planned coal-to-fuel plant

Jan. 25, 2011 at 9:02 a.m.
Updated Jan. 24, 2011 at 7:25 p.m.

WEIRTON, W.Va. (AP) - United Steelworkers Local 2911 says it won't collaborate with Weirton Energy on a $2 billion coal-to-liquid fuel plant now that it's aware of legal problems for a former principal.

President Mark Glyptis says the union's contract with ArcelorMittal gives it the right to approve or reject the sale of any of the steelmaker's 1,700 acres in the Northern Panhandle. Such a sale would have been required for the project.

Glyptis told local media he still believes in the technology but cannot move forward with either Weirton Energy or its former chief engineer, Albion Norman Jr.

Authorities arrested the 68-year-old Norman last week after discovering he was a fugitive from Texas on grand larceny charges. Norman has since been released from jail, and Texas has dropped the fugitive warrant.

Chief executive Norbert Keilbach defended Norman as a good person but said he is no longer with Weirton Energy.

Keilbach claimed he had the backing of a financial institution he declined to name and said he planned to sell nearly $100 million in scrap steel on ArcelorMittal property to help pay for the project. He said he's since returned a $100,000 temporary loan.

Documents filed with the Secretary of State's office show Keilbach, Norman and a third partner incorporated Weirton Energy in November 2009.

A year before that, records in Nevada show, Norman and Keilbach partnered Jetline Coal LLC.

Keilbach said the plan was to sell coal overseas, but that company never really got off the ground.



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