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May 20, 2013 10:16 AM by AP/CS

Ascension considers getting into utility business

GONZALES, La. (AP) - Ascension Parish government officials, already trying to pull together the early pieces of a parish-wide sewer system, also have been investigating the possibility of getting into the natural gas and water business.

The Advocate reports Parish President Tommy Martinez has been meeting with an economic development consultant for several months about buying natural gas from pipelines running through the parish and selling it at a profit to industrial users along the Mississippi River.

In March, the Parish Council also authorized Martinez to sign an exploratory agreement with a startup venture firm wanting to tap unused saline aquifers under the parish.

Backers envision an electrical cogeneration and water distillation plant that would create fresh potable and industrial-grade water with excess power sold back to the grid.

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