BATON ROUGE, La. (Sept. 5) — The planned polychloroprene rubber expansion at the DuPont Performance Elastomers facility in LaPlace, La., could prove more trouble to Louisiana than it's worth, two district directors of the United Steelworkers union have told Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco in a joint letter.
DuPont Performance Elastomers is closing its Louisville, Ky., neoprene plant and consolidating its U.S. production at LaPlace, said Ernest R. "Billy" Thompson, director of USW District 8 including Kentucky, and J.M. "Mickey" Breaux, director of USW District 13.
Breaux and Thompson, however, said the pollution levels from the expanded LaPlace neoprene operations could prove unacceptably high.
They also noted the $84 million fine DuPont Performance Elastomers paid to the U.S. Department of Justice to settle charges of price fixing in polychloroprene rubber.
"In addition to its reputation as a corporate polluter, our union believes that DuPont is the most anti-union, anti-worker company we represent," they said.
A DuPont Performance Elastomers spokeswoman said the USW letter was both inaccurate and inflammatory.
The company is working to reduce emissions at LaPlace while increasing production, and has already reduced its permitted emissions by 10 percent since beginning the LaPlace expansion, she said.