WGNO reached out to Bayou Steel Group but has not received a response.
Bayou Steel Group was formed in 2016, but operations in their LaPlace headquarters began in 1979. The company’s goal was to transport raw materials and semi-finished and finished goods.
St. John Parish President Natalie Robottom issued the following statement on the closure:
“Today we learned that the Bayou Steel Group was closing its LaPlace Plant effective November 30, 2019. This will affect approximately 376 employees. The closure was not expected and the timing relative to the holidays is disappointing for everyone. We are obviously very concerned for the families involved and our community. The plant is a large employer in our Parish as well as a means of income for those bringing materials to the site. Based on feedback from some of the employees, many of them are devastated and unprepared. We are working with the Louisiana Workforce Commission and other state agencies to address this situation. Our collective goal is to develop a plan to assist those who were laid off in the near future. There is a conference call scheduled shortly and more information will be forthcoming.”
Gov. Edwards issued the following statement on the closure:
“The Louisiana Workforce Commission is working with the company, the parish president and elected officials to assist those employees who are directly impacted by today’s news. While Bayou Steel has not given any specific reason for the closure, we know that this company, which uses recycled scrap metal that is largely imported, is particularly vulnerable to tariffs. Louisiana is among the most dependent states on tariffed metals, which is why we continue to be hopeful for a speedy resolution to the uncertainty of the future of tariffs. Meanwhile, we will do everything within our power to help those displaced workers.”
The Governor’s office also released the following information:
In July 2018, Gov. Edwards wrote President Donald Trump expressing his concerns about the impact of tariffs on the competitiveness of Louisiana ports, Liquefied Natural Gas facilities, agriculture producers and other industries that sustain communities across the state. Click here to read the letter.
Additional facts according to the U.S Census Bureau: https://usatrade.census.gov/
- Louisiana experienced the largest decline in tariffed metal imports, $682.57 million in the first half of 2019 when compared to $1.40 billion in the first half of 2017; followed by Missouri’s decline of $516.41 million. Louisiana experienced a 48.68 percent decline in tariffed metal imports in this period.
- Louisiana is one of the top 10 largest importers of tariff steel and aluminum: $719.54 million imported in the first half of 2019.
- Louisiana is the third state most dependent on tariffed metals, comprising 4.5% of total imports in the first half of 2019.
- Bayou Steel is particularly vulnerable to tariffs because their steelmaking production process uses recycled scrap metal as their raw material, which is largely imported. The scrap-based Electric Arc Furnace steelmaking production process of Bayou Steel reduces the need for mining natural resources and decreases CO2 emissions. Tariffs increase steel prices by about 12 percent. https://bayousteelgroup.com/about/operations/