Sasol reps give glimpse of future plans

Published 9:40 am Friday, February 3, 2023

Two Sasol company representatives gave the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury an overview of future plant expansion. Police Juror Judd Bares, District 12 reported on the Calcasieu Parish Regional Watershed Management Planning Study, and in DeQuincy, the speed limit on a portion of Route 66 will go from 40 mph to 50.

“The last time Sasol was in front of the Police Jury formally, things looked very different,” said Sasol Stakeholder Relations Manager Sarah Hughes. “We had not completed our $13 billion mega project. COVID-19 was not part of our vocabulary and Hurricanes Laura and Delta had not happened.”

She and Vice President of Operations Eric Walker reviewed the plant’s contribution to the tax base, employment and contributions to charities, but the focus of their presentation was to tell what’s next for the 2,100-acre site. The current operation uses about half of that property. The remaining acreage will be used as a “sustainability hub” in an effort to “extract further value from the site and explore potential opportunities for co-location and growth.”

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Walker said the company is in the process of identifying partner companies to build out the hub. The sustainability hub that will allow Sasol to continue to produce current products “used everyday in a way that also enables a lower carbon future for all of us,” Walker said. The first step will be prioritizing decarbonization initiatives.

Joe Andrepont, District 13, asked about timing for the hub and Walker couldn’t give specifics. “I’d like to say that I think we’re in it for the long haul,” he said.

The company formally announced in 2021 their commitment to decarbonizing operations and reducing greenhouse emissions by 30 percent in 2030.

The Calcasieu Parish Police Jury Drainage Committee met earlier in the day to hear an update from Jeanne Hornsby. She is an engineer and water resources team leader with Fenstermaker, the parish consultant for the Regional Watershed Management Study, a project in the works for the last five years. The goal is to complete the right comprehensive drainage projects, policies and programs based on collected data, results of model testing, changes in the way FEMA assesses flood risk and input received during the four webinars.

“Staff advised that the parish-wide watershed plan is the final stage of development and the final report is estimated to be presented to the police jury in June of this year,” Bares reported. (Webinars and CPPJ committee and regular monthly meetings are video recorded and available online.)

The Police Jury approved changing the speed limit from 40 to 50 miles per hour on Route 66 at .65 miles west of Hwy. 27 to Edgerly DeQuincy Road.

A resolution was adopted approving 2023 Calcasieu Parish Road and Drainage Trust Fund Grants in the amount of $109,200 for the Town of Iowa for South Storer Avenue Drainage Improvements and $114,000 for the City of Westlake for National Golf Club Drainage Improvements.

Twenty Calcasieu Parish property owners will be notified by the parish to show just cause at the March 2 meeting as to why the structures on the properties stipulated should not be condemned.