Formosa Plastics officials announced Friday that production of PVC plastics at a Delaware plant they plan to close by September will shift to its facility in Point Comfort.
About 100 employees at the Delaware City plant will be affected by the closure, which will be followed by a site decommissioning expected to be completed by the end of the year, according to a Formosa news release. As a result of the closure, production of PVCs, or polyvinyl chloride, will shift to the Point Comfort plant, which is described as newer and more cost-efficient.
The Point Comfort plant offers a manufacturing capacity of 850,000 metric tons of PVCs per year compared to the Delaware City plant’s 65,000 metric tons per year, according to the Independent Chemical Information Service.
Formosa spokesmen could not provide further details Friday night about how that shift will affect Point Comfort operations.
Leslie Machicek, mayor of Point Comfort, said her city has a “love-hate relationship” with Formosa.
“I love that they are providing jobs,” she said. “They are also providing training that men and women can’t get in school or can’t afford in college. They are taking them under their wing and training them. I think it’s great.”
According to the Associated Press, PVC contains the known carcinogen vinyl chloride, and the Delaware plant, which began production in 1981, has a long history of environmental violations.
The property was declared a Superfund site by the Environmental Protection Agency in 1983 after Formosa bought the facility from Stauffer Chemical in 1966. According to the EPA, Superfund sites are locations where “hazardous commercial and industrial wastes have been mismanaged and may pose unacceptable risks to human health and the environment.”
Machicek also noted concern for possible health and environmental problems related to the production of PVCs containing vinyl chloride, a known carcinogen.
“It does concern me. However, I know they have strict protocols, and they are monitoring all their air and water qualities,” Machicek said. “I’m going to trust that they do that (,but) I will definitely keep an eye on them with the EPA.”
Port Lavaca Mayor Jack Whitlow said vinyl chloride has been used in plants in Calhoun County since the 1980s. He echoed Machicek’s praise for the economic benefits brought by Formosa to local economies.
“As mayor, I can say that the Formosa plant at Point Comfort is a driving force for our region’s economy. With our great workforce, abundant natural resources and excellent rail and water transportation, this would be an ideal location. We are proud to have Formosa Plastics as a neighbor.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.