CONVENT, La. (AP) - A proposed crude oil tank farm and Mississippi River terminal nearly six years in the making has received a critical waiver from St. James Parish’s newly adopted land use plan.
The Advocate reports (http://bit.ly/1otSqZk ) the St. James Parish Council voted 6-1 late Wednesday night in contradiction of its Planning Commission’s recommendation earlier the same evening to allow the Petroplex International LLC complex to proceed on more than 1,700 acres of agricultural fields and woods near Vacherie.
The approval came with a series of conditions, including that the company seek permits to run pipelines under River Road that would link the facility with the river.
The $800 million tank farm could ultimately have 10 million barrels of storage capacity to handle and blend crude - including heavy Canadian and shale oil - as well as gasoline, other petroleum products, vegetable oil and bio-diesel.
The plant will be able to move commodities by ship, rail, highway or pipeline to refiners, according to permit documents.
The vote comes a little more than a month after the council unanimously adopted a new land use plan that had designated the west bank Petroplex tract primarily between River Road and La. 3127 for homes and agriculture.
Petroplex officials and attorneys argued they have been working on the project for years and received all the necessary permits. They said they spent more than $33 million buying the site and taking other steps to bring the project to point where it is nearly ready to be built.
Attorney Jim Percy told Councilman Jason Amato, who had been pressing him to say when construction would begin, that the company had to start by July 31 under the terms of a state air permit issued in July 2009 or risk losing the permit.
“That’s what I mean by critical. So if we don’t get this approval, we’re done, and that $33 million, we lose. That’s the critical nature,” Percy told Amato.
Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com