New plant in Ascension adds to growth
GEISMAR - Ascension Parish leaders are excited about a new Westlake Chemical Chlorine facility in their parish, coming just two months after Shell canceled plans to build a multi-billion dollar facility there.
"You make these announcements and it takes a couple years to bring the project to fruition," said Mike Eades, President/CEO of Ascension Parish Economic Development, at Wednesday's ribbon cutting for the facility. "And it's always good when a project is completed and productions start and employment ramps up. So we're excited."
Westlake Chemical is expanding on their existing operations in the state with the completion of the new chlorine plant.
"The reality is the majority of new jobs in Louisiana will come from companies already here," said Governor Bobby Jindal at the ceremony. "It's great with new companies but it's really about companies that are already here."
The news is welcome in Ascension. Shell backed out on a multi-billion dollar gas-to-liquid facility in the parish that would've supported everything from job growth to road improvements along heavily traveled Highway 70.
Today, officials are moving past that. According to Louisiana Economic Development, in the last two years Ascension has seen over $4 billion in capital investments and more than 3,000 new jobs have been created.
Westlake's announcement is expected to have a lasting ripple affect.
"A lot more opportunities are created in a variety of enterprises," Eades said. "Not just manufacturing, but service sector, retail sector, housing, demand for housing."
Westlake's new plant will add another 400 jobs in Ascension Parish.