Louisiana news briefs for Wednesday, June 9

ExxonMobil plans $240M investment in Baton Rouge

ExxonMobil will spend $240 million to upgrade its refinery in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and company officials announced Wednesday.

The company said the projects will help retain 1,300 existing jobs at the refinery and estimates the work will support more than 600 construction jobs on-site over three years. The projects are intended to “improve processing capability, increase flexibility for meeting market demand, advance overall site competitiveness and install technology for an expected 10 percent reduction of volatile organic compound emissions,” according to the announcement.

Construction is expected to begin this year. The company will take advantage of a tax exemption granted through the state’s Industrial Tax Exemption Program, though property tax revenue is projected to reach $43 million over the life of the project, and is expected to use the state-backed FastStart worker training program, officials said.

Edwards signs spending bills

Gov. John Bel Edwards has signed several major spending bills for the 2021-2022 fiscal year, his office announced.

The bills include a $74 million budget for the Legislature, a $183.6 million budget for the judiciary and the $90 million parish government revenue-sharing bill.

Edwards has not yet signed House Bill 1, the main state operating budget the Legislature passed with two weeks to spare in the session, which must end by 6 p.m. Thursday. The Legislature has not yet passed a state construction budget.

Hearing planned in Lafayette for states’ lawsuit over leasing pause

The lawsuit Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry and officials from 12 other states filed against President Joe Biden and other federal officials over the federal government’s pause on new oil-and-gas leases will have a court hearing Thursday morning in Lafayette, Landry’s office said.

The pause applies to new leases on federal land and in federal water, pending a review of permitting and leasing practices and consideration of whether royalty rates should be adjusted to account for the impact on climate change. Landry argues the administration cannot legally halt all lease sales because Congress has commanded that sales happen on a regular basis, citing the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act and the Mineral Leasing Act.

Judge Terry Doughty will hear arguments on the motion for a preliminary injunction at 9 a.m. Thursday at the John M. Shaw United States Courthouse in Lafayette.

This article was originally posted on Louisiana news briefs for Wednesday, June 9

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