OHIO RIVER CORRIDOR
The Louisville metro is the location of the $2.4-billion Louisville and Southern Indiana Ohio River Bridges project, a series of river-and Interstate-related projects that only figures to further boost the logistics fortunes of Louisville and its neighboring cities in Indiana.
On June 20, Calif.-based Genentech announced it would lease a 164,000-sq.-ft. (15,236-sq.-m.) warehouse and distribution center in Louisville, Ky.'s Jefferson Riverport International complex. Until recently, the building was occupied by another fast-growing company — UPS. That company just announced an $11.2-million, 382-job, 800,000-sq.-ft. (74,320-sq.-m.) new distribution center from its Supply Chain Solutions division to go along with its hub expansion announced earlier this year.
But there's a caveat to this surge of activity, causing some industrial firms to put a STAR next to Louisville on the map. In this case, STAR stands for the Strategic Toxic Air Reduction program, a plan to control emissions of 37 different industrial chemicals that was voted into effect by the Louisville Metro Air Pollution Control District in June 2005.
Philadelphia-based chemicals concern Rohm & Haas had announced a $15-million expansion of their Louisville complex, in partnership with the state of Kentucky, in 2004. In press reports earlier this summer, company officials said the new emissions rules went too far, exceeding state and federal EPA guidelines.
Sid Havely, senior environmental and site communications manager for Rohm & Haas, tells Site Selection that STAR is a "duplicative regulatory scheme, and adds expense both to Kentucky/ Louisville chemical plants as well as the city that in the end doesn't get you any better air.
"It's relying on almost a variance process to guide its regulatory implementation instead of a strong and commonly understood regulatory discipline," he continues. "Some people can ‘make it through' the modeling process, and others will have to go to the variance. It's not a good regulation."
Eleven chemical plants in Rubbertown — including DuPont and Borden Chemical — employ around 2,200 people. Another company, Noveon, wrote the board of the air pollution control district earlier in the year to say that Louisville did not get an expansion project because of the uncertainty surrounding the emissions rules. But Art Williams, director of the 60-year-old air pollution board, said that companies would be attracted, not repelled, by the new rules.
"The STAR program will help us strengthen our economic health," he said in June, noting recent and upcoming expansions by the likes of Chevron and steel manufacturer Leo. "Plus, there are many other such expansions in the wings," he said.
Whether they take wing, or scrub out investment along with particulates, remains up in the air. In the meantime, plans are already unfolding to introduce state-level legislation that would address air quality standards but also block STAR from being implemented. Havely and others in the industry will be throwing their support behind it.
"We think that's a better way to get better air quality than STAR," he says.
Another bi-state metro on a roll is the Evansville, Ind.-Henderson, Ky. region, which combined for 11 projects during the 14-month period under study. FedEx Ground has moved into a new 57,905-sq.-ft. (5,380-sq.-m.) distribution center at the Vanderburgh Industrial Park, which is also welcoming a new plant from exhaust system manufacturer Tenneco Automotive. The company's move into a three-year-old spec building will be supported by a 10-year tax abatement on $3.3 million worth of manufacturing equipment approved by the Vanderburgh County Council. Like a lot of companies in the region, Tenneco's main customer is the Toyota plant in nearby Princeton.
©2005 Conway Data, Inc. All rights reserved. SiteNet data is from many sources and not warranted to be accurate or current.