Steelmaker drops Louisiana expansion, cites market forces
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A major steelmaker is calling off a $120 million expansion of its factory in the Louisiana community of Convent.
The Times-Picayune’The New Orleans Advocate reports that Nucor Corp. informed state environmental officials of the decision when it asked for a revised air emissions permit in July.
The company said the decision to shelve the plans was made before it submitted a plan to regulators to reduce emissions and before environmental groups objected to the company’s proposed settlement of charges related to releases of caustic sulfuric acid mist and highly flammable hydrogen sulfide since it began operating in 2013.
“This was solely a business decision based purely on market conditions,” company spokesperson Katherine Miller said Thursday.
The environmental groups Inclusive Louisiana and the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, represented by the Tulane Environmental Law Clinic, challenged the illegal emissions settlement the company has proposed to the Department of Environmental Quality as too small. But both groups also praised Nucor’s decision not to proceed with the expansions.
“The withdrawal of the proposed pelletizer project is both a positive step for the local residents and an opportunity for both DEQ and the community to take a hard look at Nucor’s ongoing permit violations,” said Lauren Godshall, an attorney with the Tulane law clinic.
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