St. Charles Herald-Guide

Dow invities U.S. Representative to luncheon

By Heather R. Breaux - August 24, 2006

On Aug. 18 the St. Charles Operations site for Dow Chemical hosted a noon meeting featuring commentary by 3rd District U.S. Representative Charlie Melancon.

The meeting opened by plant site leader Nawzer Parakh primarily focused on the company’s operations, future projects within the area and the government’s evolving role in business competition.

Parakh’s presentation to Melancon, a group of Dow Chemical employees and to several outside business groups indicated that the company’s premier issues are energy costs, chemical plant security, rail reform and the R&D tax credit.

Parakh stated that Dow Chemical’s expenses for power generation and raw material products has doubled, ultimately costing the company an additional $200 million, and pointed out that even though Melancon supported a recent OCS Exploration bill that will allow natural gas exploration on the Gulf of Mexico’s outer continental shelf, more needs to be done on the congressional level to relieve the continuous growth of energy costs for both consumers and businesses.

The site leader then turned his focus towards chemical plant security and railroad reform.

Parakh indicated  that while the company has improved plant security, legislation focusing strictly on security needs to be put into action, and said that the company’s Louisiana sites are losing sales by paying higher rates to use only one area railroad rather than having the option to network with competing railroad companies.

“Dow sites in Louisiana spent $100 million in 2005,” said Parakh.  “That’s $25 million more than if we had competing railroads.”

In addition to railroad reform, Parakh stated that the R&D tax credit, which expired in 2005,  needs to be quickly renewed and strengthened in an effort to allow Dow Chemical to continue developing products that improve the quality of life for many citizens.

The R&D tax credit was first introduced in 1981 and was designed to allow corporations to receive a 20 percent tax credit for qualified research and development projects that exceeded a set base amount.

Melancon responded to the company’s concerns, giving special attention to the problem of rising energy costs, when stating that not only Louisiana, but the entire United States needs a modified energy policy that would make us independent from foreign sources.

“The government should have enacted policies long ago to make us independent from other sources,” said Melancon.

Melancon also touched on other topics such as immigration and education, and stated that when duty calls and  he travels to Washington, he goes there to represent his district and to convey to the government what is needed for his state and community.

Melancon is currently serving his first term in Congress representing the 3rd District of Louisiana which stretches southerly from St. Bernard Parish to Iberia and St. Martin parishes in the west.

The St. Charles Operations site for Dow Chemical is one of six locations in Louisiana that as a whole make up the largest petrochemical company in the state.

U.S. Representative Charlie Melancon address local issues at the St. Charles Operatons site for Dow Chemical.
Photo courtesy of Dow Chemical
U.S. Representative Charlie Melancon address local issues at the St. Charles Operatons site for Dow Chemical.