Other parishes welcome ExxonMobil amid company's spat with EBR
BATON ROUGE - With ExxonMobil threatening to stop its expansion in East Baton Rouge, other parishes are voicing their amenability.
"If East Baton Rouge School Board doesn't want Exxon in East Baton Rouge Parish, we will take them in Ascension," Ascension Parish councilman Aaron Lawler said after learning about Exxon's strongly-worded letter to East Baton Rouge Parish. "Well it concerned me because Exxon is a big employer for the entire region, not just East Baton Rouge Parish."
Exxon employs more than 7,000 people in the region, and Ascension understands the importance of big industry for the local economy.
In fact, in the same week that the East Baton Rouge School Board turned down Exxon's ITEP exemption, the Ascension Parish School Board approved one for Shell.
"To lose an employer like that would be devastating to the community," he said.
Lawler wasn't the only official who was concerned about Exxon's veiled threat to pull back on future expansions.
"I can read in between the lines from what I read in the paper, the statement from Exxon," Iberville Parish President Mitchell Ourso said.
Iberville Parish, which is home to the second largest petrochemical plant in the region, is just as welcoming to new industries.
"If they wanted to come, yeah we'd be glad to talk to them--with anyone. Whether it's Shell or Exxon or whatever," Ourso said.
Last year, a similar tax break for Taminco chemical went through all taxing bodies.
"It passed unanimously with our council, sheriff passed it, school board passed it," he said.
Ourso says it's just the way the parish views industry.
"They're always going to get everything they want and everything they need. And we have a pretty good relationship with them here."