Supervisors Vote Down DuPont Expansion Plan

Harrison County supervisors gave DuPont's expansion plan a unanimous "thumbs down" Monday.

The company says it needs to build a new waste disposal facility to remain competitive in today's global market. But supervisors say the company's preferred site for that expansion presents too many problems.

The site includes about 25 acres of wetlands. Some critics also argue it's too close the Bay of St. Louis and say there could be real problems with the waste site if a hurricane hits.

The plant manager pleaded with supervisors to delay their vote, saying the proposed project is environmentally sound.

DuPont's manager told supervisors they owed it to the community to accept the company's invitation to tour the plant and learn more about the proposed waste project.

"All I'm asking is for the board to do what they promised to do. And that is to come out and work with us on this a little bit further," said plant manager, Pat Nichols.

Supervisor Marlin Ladner, whose district includes the chemical plant, says he doesn't oppose the project itself, only the preferred wetlands location.

"Alternatives are still available. You can come back with those alternatives. I don't think that's going to be a problem," he told Nichols during the morning meeting.

"We'd be more than willing to look at an off site, across the road alternative as well. But we just need to sit down and talk with everybody about it. And a vote today around one alternative, we don't believe would value all of us," Nichols pleaded with the board.

Despite her plea to postpone the vote, supervisors took a unanimous stand against the proposed site. They encouraged the company to pursue alternative sites.

Larry Benefield represents District 2.

"But I think this board, if you had a good alternative site, that it's something we could live with, I think you'd find us in support of that," Benefield said.

Following a unanimous "no" vote, plant manager Nichols told WLOX News the company will have to consider its options.

"We're going to continue to look at all our plans that we have on the table. I'm not going to speak to any particular alternative or plan right now. We'll be back talking with you I'm sure," she promised.

Dupont needs approval from the Mississippi DEQ and the Army Corps of Engineers before it could proceed with the project. Again, plant manager Nichols could not commit on whether the company will pursue that same site or consider another location instead.