Chamber of Commerce hopes Cornerstone Chemical cyanide plant resolution can be reached

By Gabriel Neves | May 14, 2019

Jefferson Chamber of Commerce President Todd Murphy  

NEW ORLEANS – One week after having its permit for the expansion of a cyanide plant in Waggaman denied by the Jefferson Parish Council, Cornerstone Chemical is suing the parish.

"The council voted 6-1 to rescind Cornerstone Chemical's permit for the expansion one year after passing it," local TV station WDSU reported. 

Dominick Impastato was the only council member who voted in favor of keeping the permit valid.

"The parish attorneys warned this would happen," Jefferson Parish President Mike Yenni told the station. 

The Jefferson Chamber of Commerce expressed concerns over the Council's vote to rescind the plant expansion permit.  

"Revocation of a properly granted permit 15 months and millions of investment dollars later really leaves Cornerstone, or any company, no choice but to protect their investment through the judicial system," Chamber President Todd Murphy told the Louisiana Record. "The argument of the Council seemed to center around environmental and community safety, although their own engineer said the $110 million project would make the plant safer."

Murphy also expressed his confidence on an agreement being reached between the company and the parish.

"Working out a compromise between business and industry is always best done in the legislative process," he said. "The Cornerstone plant has been in operation in Jefferson since 1952 and employs hundreds of local hardworking people. We will learn next steps at the upcoming court hearing. And, for the sake of the community and the reputation of our parish, I remain hopeful that some sort of collaborative agreement can become of this lawsuit."

Cornerstone, which has been producing hydrogen cyanide in the Waggaman plant for decades, wanted to carry out a $100 million expansion at the current site, located across the Mississippi River near New Orleans' Louis Armstrong International Airport.

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