Formosa Plastics Group unit FG LA LLC has received the final Title V operating permits needed from the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality in order to start building a massive plastics and petrochemical complex in that state.
Officials with FG in Welcome, La., said in a Jan. 7 news release that the $9.4 billion investment — called the Sunshine Project — is expected to create 1,200 new direct jobs and a peak construction workforce of more than 8,000. Formosa first announced plans for the project in St. James Parish in April 2018.
"FG is pleased to have completed the rigorous environmental permitting process," Community and Government Relations Director Janile Parks said in the release. "Our team has worked diligently to design a facility that meets state and federal standards that protect the health and safety of our employees, community and the environment.
"Since our project announcement, FG has been actively involved in the community, including holding an open house, sponsoring local park improvements, supporting local education and providing food boxes to students and senior citizens," Parks added. "We will continue to invest in and address real needs ... through projects and initiatives developed with feedback from people who live and work in the local area."
Officials added that the new complex will have "a significant economic impact" at the state and local levels. According to a study conducted by LSU economist Jim Richardson, the project will generate about $362 million in taxes for state and local governments during construction, with nearly $207 million being collected in the St. James area. During operations, the project is expected to generate $33 million annually in state and local taxes.
Formosa already operates a major petrochemicals and plastics site in Point Comfort, Texas. In November 2019, a Louisiana community group asked a congressional committee to help block FG's plans in St. James. The call for congressional involvement in the Formosa project came in testimony from Sharon Lavigne, founder of Rise St. James, during a Washington hearing of the House subcommittee on environment and climate change.
Lavigne said Formosa's plans in St. James would make the site the third-largest emitter of ethylene oxide in the country and that it would double local air pollution. Formosa officials did not testify at the hearing.