In A Flash

Shintech plastic manufacturing expansion ‘very disappointing,’ environmentalist says

By: - January 26, 2021 7:36 pm

Shintech Louisiana LLC, the world’s leading manufacturer of a widely produced synthetic plastic polymer called PVC, will invest $1.3 billion to expand manufacturing and packaging facilities in Iberville and West Baton Rouge parishes, Gov. John Bel Edwards’ office announced Tuesday.

To secure the project, the State of Louisiana offered the corporation an incentive package that includes a grant of up to $6.6 million for the construction, procurement and installation of infrastructure to support the expansion project — contingent upon the company reaching investment and production benchmarks, according to the press release. The company also is expected to utilize Louisiana’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs.

Jane Patton, a senior campaigner for the Center for International Environmental Law and No Waste Louisiana, said it’s shocking and disappointing that state leadership continues to invest in expanding plastics manufacturing facilities when Louisianans are currently fighting against a multi-billion dollar plastics facility just down the road. “That is madness to me,” she said.

“The public in Louisiana very clearly does not want new plastic production over here and has mobilized against it,” Patton said.

The nearby facility Patton referred to is a $9.4 billion Formosa Plastics manufacturing complex planned for St. James Parish.

St. James Parish is included in what’s called “Cancer Alley,” an area along the Mississippi River between New Orleans and Baton Rouge that is home to multiple petrochemical plants, and, correspondingly, has high rates of cancer and cancer deaths.  According to the permits Formosa has filed, its planned manufacturing complex will double the amount of toxic chemicals released into the air in St. James Parish.

Patton said it’s also a bad bet economically for Louisiana “to continue to pursue petrochemical companies that don’t have a market to sell their products, not safe long-term investments for their community and are going to be environmentally devastating.”

“It’s just offensive to me that a corporation that has a lot more money than I do gets to have a pass on taxes that can be way more impactful than mine,” Patton said. “Taxes that could go toward health and hospitals at a time when we desperately need that.”

Shintech’s manufacturing expansion will create 30 new direct jobs in Plaquemine with an average annual salary of $86,000, plus benefits, according to a press release. Louisiana Economic Development estimates the project will result in 129 new indirect jobs, for a total of 159 new jobs for Iberville and West Baton Rouge parishes.

“Louisiana’s competitive business environment remains supportive of our major manufacturing sectors,” Gov. Edwards said in the press release. “Our skilled workforce and world-class infrastructure continue to set the stage for significant manufacturing expansions. As Shintech reaffirms its confidence in Louisiana’s economic strengths, we welcome the company’s latest investment in Iberville and West Baton Rouge parishes.”

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JC Canicosa
JC Canicosa

JC Canicosa is a former Louisiana Illuminator reporter. Prior to working with the Illuminator, Canicosa worked for Investigate-TV and The Loyola Maroon. Canicosa earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Loyola University New Orleans. At Loyola, he was the senior staff writer at The Maroon and the president of the school's chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Off the clock, Canicosa enjoys playing basketball, watching movies and dabbling in comedy writing.