LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) -After months of negative publicity over excessive flaring, Indorama’s new site director, Tony Barre, told business people that Indorama voluntarily quit operating the unit until they can do so smoothly.
“It was obvious to me that there was no point in continuing to try to operate until we understood the issues and addressed them. And so we shut down the plant two weeks ago, two weeks and two days, actually. And we will probably be down for the better part of another month so that we can resolve all of the mechanical issues,” said Barre, speaking to the Alliance for Positive Growth.
He admits there are challenges when you take a 35 year old plant and work to bring it back up.
"To take a plant that's been moth balled for 17 years and get it to a point of operational status, and to spend several hundred million dollars in the process, is a huge feat," he said.
Barre says they've been under intensive scrutiny by environmental agencies.
“I’ve gotten more regulatory attention here in the past several years than I have my whole DOW career. All the visits we’ve had they’ve all been positive. We’re transparent, we’re happy to have them come in. And they’ve never found anything of any significance that they were concerned about,” said Barre, who worked at Dow Chemical for 35 years.
Barre says he’s determined to have a well-run plant.
"I intend to run a safe, environmentally sound, reliable facility, that people can be proud to work at," he said.
And Barre says he is willing to speak to groups of citizens who have questions or concerns.
“We really need to put a public face on Indorama and give the community the opportunity to hear what’s going on, be transparent about it give them the opportunity to ask questions,” he said..
The state DEQ’s mobile air monitoring lab was recently in the area to sample near Indorama. They have not yet published their findings.
If anyone wants Indorama officials to make a presentation to their group they should call Patricia Prebula at 337-499-3458.
For emergencies Indorama has a hotline: 337-502-4754.