Idaho-based Norco Inc., is to construct an air separation plant on a 10-acre site in Colombia, USA.

Norco CEO Jim Kissler made the announcement saying his company, $quot;harvests the sky,$quot; separating air into oxygen, nitrogen and argon. The gases are used to supply Norco's 30,000 customers throughout the Northwest.

Construction on the Moses Lake plant has not begun, Murray added. Norco hopes to break ground within the next 90 days. The plant is expected to be operational in the first quarter of 2009. It will be similar to Norco's existing plant in Nampa, Idaho, constructed in 2002.

The company expects completion of the plant to be a stimulus for companies which rely on industrial gases to locate in the Moses Lake area. Council Director of Communications and Research Jon Smith said the council had been working with Norco since July 2006.

$quot;Norco produces industrial gases and currently they have a retail facility in Ephrata,$quot; Smith said. $quot;Now they'll be able to produce the stuff they're selling there in the local area, instead of having to bring it in from another place. It will be easier, quicker access and help the other companies already located here which use those chemicals.$quot;