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Safety a consideration in Waggaman plant's opening

Waggaman, La. -
Just hours before the Texas explosion at the fertilizer plant in West, Texas, Governor Bobby Jindal and Jefferson Parish leaders announced a new ammonia plant slated for Waggaman's River Road.  It will be situated on the property of the Cornerstone Chemical Company.

Community leaders who will live near the facility say they're not worried, but the district councilman still wants more safety information.

"We want the jobs, the investment, and the revenue but we want to make sure quality of life and safety is the ultimate concern of citizens of the parish," said Councilman Mark Spears.

Waggaman resident Bernard Menge says he's on board.

"To compare that incident [in Texas] with what's happening with the Cornerstone Company should not be made," he said.

Menge is on the citizens advisory panel for Cornerstone Chemical Company. He lives less than a mile away.

"The plan is to produce anhydrous ammonia," he said.  "Ammonium nitrate is the one that is explosive. The other is not." 

Landry Camardelle is president of the Waggaman Civic Association.  "We've been through several meetings where people come in and give presentations and everything and their main concern is safety. They have a good safety record," he said.

There have been two other ammonia plants on the site of what is now Cornerstone Chemical. Both disbanded, Cornerstone officials, say because of economics and not operations.

"It's a state-of-the-art ammonia plant with all the safety precautions," David Schake said.
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