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Southwest Louisiana ,

Sasol to host public meeting on plans to mitigate environmental impact

Last Modified: Monday, December 02, 2013 5:46 PM

By Frank DiCesare / American Press

Southwest Louisiana residents will have an opportunity Wednesday to learn about how Sasol plans to mitigate the environmental impact of its proposed ethane cracker and gas-to-liquids complex.

At the request of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sasol officials will hold a public meeting at 7 p.m. in the Lake Charles Civic Center’s Contraband Room to answer questions on their plans to increase “the quantity and quality of wetlands” in the Calcasieu Watershed prior to constructing their multi-billion-dollar facilities in Westlake. Sasol has applied for a wetlands modification permit with the Corps, which is still under consideration.

Officials from the Corps are expected to attend the meeting.

“This meeting is part of the approval process,” said Michael Hayes, Sasol’s public affairs manager for U.S. megaprojects. “So, if people have concerns or issues or want to ask questions, this is their opportunity to do so.”

Hayes said Sasol executives will have displays and handouts for residents to review. The company’s projects will disturb wetlands on their property and off site along the southeast side of Calcasieu Lake.

Sasol’s proposed $7 billion ethane cracker will produce ethylene, which, in turn, will be used to make products such as synthetic fibers, detergents, paints and fragrances. The facility is expected to produce an estimated 1.5 million tons of ethylene a year.

The company’s GTL complex, touted as a “game changer for America’s energy future,” is expected to produce more than 96,000 barrels of diesel fuels and chemicals each day. The complex will also house Sasol’s second linear alkyl benzene unit, which will increase the company’s production of detergent alkylates. The project’s estimated cost is between $11 billion and $14 billion.

Sasol’s 161-page “Permittee Responsible Mitigation Plan,” which was submitted to the Corps in September, is available online in pdf form at Browsers should click the heading “Commitments” and then the subhead “Safety & Environment.”

Hayes said Sasol hopes to receive approval from the Corps by spring 2014.

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