- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 7, 2015

ALEXANDRIA, La. (AP) - Rapides Parish officials want to do their part to facilitate location of the American Specialty Alloys plant to a site near Pineville.

The Town Talk reports (https://townta.lk/1FhGalt ) police jurors on Monday authorized President Richard Billings to work with grant consultants, engineers, bond attorneys and special legal counsel to assist ASA in meeting infrastructure needs.

The $2.4 billion plant, which will manufacture aluminum alloy for the automotive and aerospace industries, will be built at the former International Paper mill site near Pineville. It is expected to employ more than 1,400 people and generate an additional 2,600 indirect jobs.

Construction is expected to be completed in 2020.

Billings, noting the plant will not be inside a municipality, said, “We find it our obligation to do what we can possibly do to not only expedite it, but to make sure it’s done” as far as infrastructure is concerned.

The motion is to give Billings permission to work toward “preparation of various grant applications and other legislatively created financing opportunities” to assist ASA.

It said the help would be for infrastructure needs “including but not limited to roads, water, sewer, rail and port access which may require the creation of special districts.”

Shortly before the jury voted to support the ASA project, Agnes Francisco of Alexandria addressed jurors, expressing environmental concerns about two creosote plants in the parish and saying the ASA plant will need to be monitored for air quality when it opens.

Francisco, who is with the Alexandria/Pineville Community Focus Project, was accompanied by about 40 residents concerned about pollution.

Billings said he’s confident the EPA will conduct the necessary tests for pollution and “will be on top of it” if action is needed to resolve issues.

He also said the ASA plant will meet all EPA standards.

___

Information from: Alexandria Daily Town Talk, https://www.thetowntalk.com

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