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Senate committee measure approves measure to let Sasol move canal

Last Modified: Thursday, April 18, 2013 6:45 PM

By John Guidroz / American Press

A Senate committee on Thursday approved a measure that would allow Sasol to move the Sabine River Diversion Canal to accommodate the estimated $21 billion expansion to its Westlake facility.

The Senate Natural Resources Committee favorably reported Senate Bill 85, by Sen. Ronnie Johns, R-Sulphur. It heads to the full Senate for consideration.

The canal — owned by the Sabine River Authority — runs through 300 acres of property that Sasol acquired for the expansion, Johns said. He said the canal was built 40 years ago to provide freshwater to Southwest Louisiana industries like PPG, ConocoPhillips and Citgo.

Johns said that Sasol will pay to move the canal and enhance it by installing a new pumping station.

“It is absolutely imperative that we do this,” Johns said. “We have an opportunity to bring the largest economic development project in Louisiana.”

Sen. Dan “Blade” Morrish, R-Jennings, who sits on the committee, agreed that the measure is needed so the project can move forward.

“It is important to the entire state for economic growth,” he said. “This is not something we’re thinking about doing. They’re moving dirt today.”

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