Word has come from the Indiana Statehouse that Governor Mike Pence has suspended support for the construction of a nitrogen fertilizer manufacturing complex in Posey County, IN. Pakistan's Fatima Group had been granted access to $1.3 billion in Indiana tax incentives and disaster relief funds to help finance the construction, but controversy revolves around Fatima's dealings in their native Pakistan.
The Department of Defense (DOD) has reported that Fatima produces CAN fertilizers -- some of which ends up as a component of improvised explosive devices and used against U.S. troops fighting in the region. Fatima's unwillingness to clamp down on their products being used in explosives in Pakistan has the DOD concerned.
"Economic development is important, but the safety and security of our troops in harm's way is more important," said Governor Pence. "We're in the process of making a careful evaluation of the appropriateness of Indiana's involvement in this project with those priorities in mind."
When the The Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) began working with Fatima Group last summer, the DOD had described Fatima's role as supportive, and said the company was cooperating with federal authorities. IEDC has been informed of recent testimony from Lt. Gen. Michael Barbero, the director of the DOD's Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization, before a subcommittee of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee where he testified that Fatima was less than cooperative with the department's efforts in the region.
"When Fatima initially approached the IEDC with their plans to create hundreds of new jobs and invest more than $1 billion in Indiana, we were thrilled. At the time, the DOD described the company's level of cooperation addressing issues as supportive," said Eric Doden, president of the IEDC. "However, as soon as we learned of the DOD's significant change in position, the state paused the project until a thorough investigation can be completed."
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