Methanex’s decision to relocate two methanol plants from Chile to Geismar demonstrates the advantages driving the industrial boom in south Louisiana: easy access to the Mississippi River, natural gas and large plots of land, as well as a major limitation, transportation, said Jessica Kemp, vice president of policy and advocacy at the Center for Planning Excellence.
“If you drive down River Road, you’ll see a dozen similar sites and you’ll notice they all have these great big parking lots for these thousands of workers,” Kemp told attendees at the Connect Boom Without Bust Policy Forum. “You’ll also notice there’s only one way in and one way out.”
About 100 people were on hand for the opening session.
The challenge for the state and southeast Louisiana in particular will be figuring out the best way to accommodate the coming industrial, business and residential growth and the resulting traffic, Kemp said. The goal is to create sustainable growth and avoid the bust that often follows a boom.
The most conservative estimates show $60 billion in major project investment in the state, with $21 billion in the Baton Rouge-to-New Orleans corridor. “We don’t see a lot of what’s coming yet, but right now, it’s like a big cannonball moving through a python,” said Dan Borne, president of the Louisiana Chemical Association.
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