St. Bernard Sheriff, Council Approve Refinery Tax Exemption Application

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CHALMETTE, La. – St. Bernard Parish Sheriff James Pohlmann and the St. Bernard Parish Council have unanimously approved Chalmette Refining’s Industrial Tax Exemption Program application at the local level, according to a press release from the St. Bernard Economic Development Foundation.

Parish President Guy McInnis also expressed his support in the SBEDF release.

“This new project is exciting for the parish and the metropolitan area,” he said. “We welcome the huge investment at Chalmette Refining and look forward to the hiring of over 100 new employees that are a direct result of this project. Renewable energy is at the center of the U.S. energy transition, and we are thrilled to be included on the ground level in St. Bernard.”

New York-based PBF Energy, which purchased the Chalmette Refining facility in 2015 for $322 million plus working capital, has proposed investing $550 million to retrofit a refinery unit that has been idled since 2010, construct a new pre-treatment unit, and make additions to docking, loading, offloading and tankage capabilities. The plan is to produce biofuels and renewable diesel.

SBEDF said improvements to the facility could begin this year and be complete by the end of 2022 – but first PBF Energy is waiting for tax exemption application approval from the St. Bernard Parish School Board. And potential investors must select the St. Bernard facility for the project. 

“PBF Energy is looking for projects that will create stability for our workforce, prepare the refinery for a green energy transition and help us recover from the losses of the last year and a half,” said PBF Energy’s Chalmette Refinery Manager Steve Krynski. “Louisiana financial incentives like the Industrial Tax Exemption and Quality Jobs programs help make the numbers work, especially as our company and entire industry recover from the pandemic. With the support of our state and local leaders, I am hopeful we will be able to bring this project and its economic benefits to St. Bernard Parish.”  

Economic development officials say the project will directly add 20 new, permanent jobs in St. Bernard with an estimated payroll of $1.4 million, and at least 92 indirect jobs and 600 jobs expected for construction. The refinery, built in 1915, is the largest private business taxpayer and employer in the parish and employs more than 500 people currently. 

“The importance of our local entities’ support in bringing this project to life cannot be understated. This expansion project and the new jobs and tax revenue that come with it would be incredibly positive for our Parish as we recover from the pandemic and look to the future of St. Bernard,” said Meaghan McCormack, executive director of the St. Bernard Economic Development Foundation. “My hope is that the school board will also see the benefits [of this potential project] and will be willing to vote in a way that showcases how unified our parish is in its encouragement of the innovation and growth of local companies.”

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