The Helena-West Helena City Council’s objection to Mayor James Valley’s December executive order promoting 21 firefighters and police officers isn’t going away even with the promotions and pay raises in effect.
Attorney John Peiserich says Narcros Chemical, the firm he represents, along with Quapaw Products and Delta Specialty Woods Products, are actively pursuing the reopening of Cedar Chemical if the three parties can resolve environmental issues with the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality.
“We’re trying to get out of the box with ADEQ,” Peiserich told a joint meeting of the Helena-West Helena Rotary and Kiwanis clubs Wednesday.
Peiserich, a member of the Little Rock law firm of Perkins & Trotter, who specializes in environmental and oil and gas law, has met several times with Helena-West Helena business leaders about Narcros’ intent to reopen Cedar Chemical which shut down in 2002 after going in bankruptcy.
Peiserich said Narcros took the lead in the Cedar Chemical Brownfield Project aimed at getting the former plant in environmentally acceptable condition to use again.
The Arkansas General Assembly enacted a Brownfield law in 1995 in keeping with the law imposed through Congress by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The Brownfield Project allows a company to “control its liability” while returning unproductive and contaminated property back into use.
Noting that Narcros has gone through the lengthy process involving air and water quality permits, Peiserich said the company would not cause undo environmental problems because, “We won’t be a big water user that creates chemical pollution.”
Stating that while Narcros was not responsible for the environmental mess left behind by Cedar Chemical, Peiserich said the firm is committed to “cleaning it up.”
Peiserich said he met with ADEQ officials last Friday in Little Rock to keep the agency informed about Narcros’ progress.
On the front burner is a property development plan that requires ADEQ’s approval, Peiserich said.
Narcros is a Kansas City, Kansas-based company founded in 1917 that produces surfactants, emulsifiers, defoamers and related products, Peiserich said.
Quapaw Products is a wholly owned subsidiary of Narcros. Delta Specialty Wood Products with corporate offices in El Dorado manufactures wood shavings and pallets.
Peiserich pointed out that Narcros doesn’t “make chemicals that cause the (kind) of problems” created at Cedar Chemical.
Once a successful accord has been reached with ADEQ, Narcros can proceed with a development schedule, Peiserich said.
Phase I could began soon while it would be the first quarter of 2011 at the earliest for Phase II, Peiserich said.
Quapaw faces a six-month retrofit period dealing with water and air permits.
In the first six months of operation, Quapaw would be looking at hiring 30 employees with an annual payroll of $1.5 million. The 3-to-5-year projection calls for 90 employees with an annual payroll of $4.5 million.
“We want to show that we will be environmentally responsible as possible,” Peiserich said.
Phase I for Delta Specialty could generate 19 jobs 120 days after the deal is closed, Peiserich said. The plant would have a projected annual payroll of $1.7 million with an equipment cost of $2.1 million in 2011.
During a brief Q&A, Peiserich said hiring would be done locally.
Peiserich said while barge and rail transportation would be utilized the bulk of the materials would be hauled by trucks with the accessibility of Interstate 40 and Memphis.