Over the years, the site of the old Amoco Refinery in Destrehan has stood undeveloped and unoccupied. Located next door to Destrehan Plantation and adjacent to the I-310 ramp in Destrehan, the site has been restricted for decades due to reports of pollution in the area. In recent weeks, residents of the parish may have noticed a significant change. The trees have been cleared revealing a huge plot of land to be zoned for commercial use.
Due to growing concerns over pollution, in 1995 BP Amoco Corporation signed an environmental remediation and monitoring agreement with the state of Louisiana to clean up the area. "Following an investigation of the property, it was found that there are no hydrocarbons in the ground water. The crew has performed what we call ‘cap and cover’ to prevent any existing pollution from moving or spreading," said Hugh Depland, General Manager of Government and Public Affairs for British Petroleum Amoco Corporation. "It is a fairly common practice and has been done most recently in Casper, Wyoming. That site is now home to a business park and golf course," he went on to say.
Depland declined to comment on the property's future use, stating "the crews are just cleaning up the area for whatever the future use will be." According to the St. Charles Parish Office of Planning and Zoning, the property is a possible site of a new East Bank Regional Library and part is said to be donated to the St. Charles Parish School Board. The remaining property will be zoned commercial for a business park type of facility.
Nancy Robert of Destrehan Plantation says "the clearing of the trees and development of commercial facilities at the site will take away from the ambiance of the plantation. But we realize that if it weren't for BP Amoco, we would not have the plantation at all. They provided the property and the home." She went on to say, “BP has been very good to us. We have been assured that whatever is developed there will be a world class operation. They may even provide us with more land in the future."
With pollution concerns dwindling due to extensive cleanup efforts, only the future will reveal the next step for the property. With a promise that the site's historical significance will be preserved, “the force that is progress will not be stopped,” said Nancy Robert of Destrehan Plantation.
|Work equipment sits behind the exterior fence of the BP Amoco property in Destrehan. Crews have been clearing off the property for several weeks.|