Concerns in Jefferson Parish over new ammonia plant after Texas plant explosion

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wwltv.com

Posted on April 18, 2013 at 5:16 PM

Updated Thursday, Apr 18 at 5:22 PM

Ashley Rodrigue / Eyewitness News
Email: arodrigue@wwltv.com | Twitter: @ashleyrwwl

WAGGAMAN, La. - The scene at a plant explosion in West, Texas has sparked concern closer to home in Jefferson Parish.

The accident happened just hours after an announcement in Waggaman about a similar, incoming ammonia production plant.

Despite Dyno Nobel's plans for a $1 billion investment on a former plant property in Waggaman, with 65 long-term, good-paying jobs, plus hundreds of construction jobs, area leaders are now not so sure it's all good news.

"Look, this is a big investment in the community, an economic investment," Jefferson Parish Councilman Mark Spears, Jr. said. "Millions of dollars. But we just want to make sure that the citizens that we have in Waggaman will not be negatively affected."

But Parish President John Young said the Texas tragedy gives the incoming company a chance to double and triple check their steps and safety.

"Dyno Nobel went around the world to studied every other kind of plant to come up with the best plant they could come up with in terms of technology, in terms of safety," Young said. "In fact, at the announcement yesterday, they stressed that once it's built in Jefferson Parish, in Louisiana, companies will come from all over the world to see how this plant operates and was built."

After the explosion Wednesday in Texas, that's not enough for Spears.

"It's easy before something occurs to say it's not going to happen but when you see it and you see those grave pictures, what's going on right now in Waco. The fire I'm sure is still going on. We just want to make sure that we have some assurances," he said.

Spears is hoping to put together a meeting between the company and the community to clear up any new concerns. He says St. Charles Parish could also get involved since the site is close to the parish line.

 

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