Jefferson Parish Council to vote on expansion of Waggaman cyanide plant

Jefferson Parish Council to vote on expansion of Waggaman cyanide plant

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - On Wednesday, Jefferson Parish officials could reverse their decision to allow more cyanide to be produced in the area.

The decision comes after a year of backlash from residents who say they fear for their health and safety.

Images of a burning chemical plant in Houston over the weekend did nothing but fuel the fire for some residents in Jefferson Parish who are already opposed to the Jefferson Parish Council’s decision to allow a $20 million expansion at the Cornerstone Plant in Waggaman.

In January 2018, the Jefferson Parish Council approved Cornerstone’s request to amend their permit. This allowed the chemical company to move forward with installing two cyanide storage tanks and build a new hydrogen cyanide manufacturing unit. But after the continued public outcry, the council voted in February to put a pause on that expansion.

Wednesday, the council will make a new vote on whether or not to rescind the permit request. Some council members who once voted to approve the expansion are now changing course and some residents feel their concerns are being heard.

“It terrifies me greatly because even though I live here in River Ridge, when you look at the broad base spectrum of where things could happen, potential odors and dangers, we’re in the bullseye right here,” says resident Gwen Tilley.

In February, an attorney for Cornerstone told the council that reversing their 2018 vote would be unnecessary and improper.

The meeting will be held at the Jefferson Parish Council Chambers at 10 a.m.

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