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A look at the plant during a ceremony celebrating the opening of a $500 million polypropylene expansion at ExxonMobil’s polyolefins plant, Thursday, January 19, 2023, in Baton Rouge, La.

With 632 words in last Monday’s paper, Bob Marshall disparaged hundreds of thousands of Louisiana manufacturing employees and questioned the integrity of the diligent, hardworking staff of the state’s Department of Environmental Quality. Without getting his facts straight.

In addition to the 64 monitors administered by DEQ across the state, every single one of our facilities has its own monitoring system — all of which provide data directly to the regulators. Chemical facilities are required by statute to report air monitoring results to DEQ on a regular basis and if any of our numbers exceed statutory limitations, we’re required by law to report it immediately.

The $18,000 fee that Mr. Marshall mentioned in his article would have only covered the cost for DEQ to pay additional employees to administer and monitor the redundant program; all costs for buying, installing and overseeing the additional equipment would fall directly on each individual facility. These systems cost more than $1 million per monitor.

More than $1 million to simply duplicate efforts that already exist; $1 million that could otherwise go to community investments or salary increases, like ExxonMobil’s $2 million donation to LSU just last week. With a looming recession and global economic uncertainty, I know every business in the world is closely watching every dollar. So yes, these factors do come into play when companies are deciding where to invest. Especially if Louisiana is a place where costly, superfluous programs can be created on a whim.

The fact is that the Louisianians in our chemical facilities work every day to abide by environmental regulations while finding new ways to reduce emissions. And it’s worked. Over the past 30 years, we’ve reduced 75% of air emissions. We know… because we monitor it.


president, Louisiana Chemical Association

Baton Rouge

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