Competition for New Steel Mill Heats Up

February 28, 2007

Reported by: Associated Press

Governor Kathleen Blanco took six state lawmakers with her to Germany in her bid to woo a major steel manufacturer to build its new $2.9 billion plant in south Louisiana.

Louisiana and Alabama are competing for the new facility to be built by Duesseldorf-based steel maker ThyssenKrupp A-G -- and the 2700 steel-making jobs that come with it.

On the trip with Blanco are Senate President Don Hines of Bunkie; House Speaker Joe Salter of Florien; Senator Francis Heitmeier of New Orleans, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee; Representative John Alario of Westwego, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee; Senator Tom Schedler of Mandeville, chairman of the Senate Republican Caucus; and Representative Cedric Richmond of New Orleans, chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus.

The group left Sunday for Germany. They return on Thursday. ThyssenKrupp A-G hasn't decided between a site near Mobile, Alabama, or one in Louisiana, along the Mississippi River between Baton Rouge and New Orleans.

Alabama Governor Bob Riley met with company officials in Germany earlier this month. He called the Alabama Legislature into special session this week to approve a $400 million dollar incentives package for the plant.

The Louisiana Legislature approved a $300 million dollar fund late last year to lure the plant to the St. James Parish site.