Killeen City Councilwoman Shirley Fleming is not happy that she and her constituents were kept in the dark about the new chemical plant opening up in her district. Next week, everyone will get the chance to ask questions about the next big company that will call Killeen home.
Fleming and fellow Killeen Councilman Steve Harris have arranged to hold a public forum from 6 to 8 p.m. Sept. 28, at the Killeen Community Center, 2201 E. Veterans Memorial Blvd.
She began receiving concerned messages and phone calls from District 1 residents shortly after the plant was announced. That hasn’t stopped.
“People are reacting every day, that’s why I’m doing this,” she said in a phone call Saturday.
MGC Pure Chemicals America plant will be built in the Killeen Industrial Park. The plant will produce super-pure hydrogen peroxide, a cleaning chemical used in the semiconductor industry. This is used to produce several everyday items, such as camera lenses on phones and tablets. It’s set to create 28 new jobs with an average annual salary of $66,000 over the next five years, according to the Killeen Economic Development Corporation.
Residents’ concerns rose after a Houston-area chemical plant caught on fire after floodwaters from Hurricane Harvey engulfed the plant’s two generators.
The Arkema plant in Crosby went up in flames because a lack of refrigeration caused the chemical compounds to catch fire. No one was injured in the blaze because the area was evacuated.
“There’s no guarantee that something like in Houston can’t happen to us here,” Fleming said.
A celebratory groundbreaking was held at the site location in the Killeen Industrial Park on Aug. 30. Several representatives from the Tokyo-based company were on hand, but the event was invite only, and the public wasn’t invited to attend.
Fleming was asked if she thought that was done intentionally to keep away the people who might oppose the plant. She indicated that she did.
“Do I even have to answer that?” she said.
On Thursday, the Herald requested a copy of the agreement between the city and new chemical plant under the Texas Public Information Act. In addition, the Herald asked city representatives and Executive Director of the Killeen Economic Development Corporation John Crutchfield. The questions are:
1) What is the cost of the chemical plant to taxpayers?
2) What does the cost of 50 percent in property taxes amount to with the property?
3) How many years will that tax plan last?
4) What is the cost of construction?
5) What is the cost of the rail spur?
6) Who will pay for the rail spur?
7) What is the volume of water the plant will use?
8) How will the water be treated and released?
9) What chemicals will be used and how will they be stored?
10) What air permits are required for the chemical plant?
11) What emissions will be released?
12) What are the actual number of jobs that will be hired locally?
13) What is the estimated total dollar amount that will be paid to the chemical company by the city, EDC or any other organization?
14) Did the chemical plan receive any county, state or federal funding?
15) Do these types of chemical plants normally locate in a high population area?