The Delta Grassroots Caucus (DGC) is a broad coalition of grassroots leaders in the eight-state Delta region. DGC is also a founding partner of the Economic Equality Caucus,
which advocates for economic equality across the USA.

New Blytheville plant creates jobs with environmentally friendly practices

Posted on October 10, 2007 at 06:29 PM

A new plant in Blytheville, Arkansas will create at least 43 new well-paying jobs while promoting good environmental practices, and we would commend this as an innovative model that ought to be replicated in other areas of the Delta region. PIZO Operating Co. LLC will recycle waste from Nucor Hickman and Nucor Yamato Steel plants and convert it to marketable metal products. These companies worked effectively with Gov. Mike Beebe, Mississippi County, and Blytheville leaders to make this project possible.

Nucor Yamato and Nucor Hickman are noted for pursuing enlightened, progressive policies aimed at preserving the environment, expanding training opportunities and education for their employees, promoting safety, while providing excellent salaries for about 1,400 positions in Mississippi County, Arkansas. Their collaboration with PIZO as well as the state and local leaders is a great example why so many people regard Nucor as an exemplary role model for our region. Congratulations to Joe Stratman, Steve Southard and all the fine people at Nucor.

PIZO Operating Co. will recycle electric arc furnace dust, making it the first use of an innovative new technology. Heritage Environmental Services LLC, a member of the environmental service firm Heritage Group, invented the PIZO (short for pig iron, zinc and oxide process), which converts electric arc furnace dust into crude zinc, oxide, pig iron, and slag. PIZO is a member of the environmenal service firm Heritage Group.

Nucor Corporation, based in Charlotte, N.C., and The Heritage Group invested $29 million in the new company. PIZO Operating Co. will be located across from the Nucor Yamato facility in Blytheville.

The state and Mississippi County offered the company grants and tax incentives to locate in Blytheville.

Gov. Beebe called the project “a great example of employing environmentally friendly ideas as an engine for economic development.”

Salaries are estimated to average at least $40,000, due to the technical nature of the employment. Many economic development experts, such as Clif Chitwood, president of the Great River Economic Development Foundation of Mississippi County, said that they believe the plant has great potential for adding jobs in the future. Chitwood said that “what they do is take dust from steel mills, which is classified as a hazardous waste material, and turn it all back into commercially viable products.” Chitwood said that the county purchased the land and made infrastructure improvements, “roads and rail and that type of thing.”

Officials said that production is expected to begin by the end of 2008, and the company will process approximately 50,000 tons of electric arc furnace dust per year.

Many people who have been active partners in the Delta Grassroots Caucus were very involved in this project, including all the fine people at Nucor Hickman and Nucor Yamato, Gov. Beebe’s office, Mississippi County Judge Steve McGuire, Blytheville Mayor Barrett Harrison, the Great River Economic Development Foundation in Mississipi County and others. Congratulations to all of them.

This project recalls President Bill Clinton’s often-stated message that economic development and environmentally friendly practices ought to be regarded as reinforcing each other, and NOT as in conflict. It would be great if many other corporations, governments and local leaders across the region could come up with other projects that create jobs and protect the environment at the same time. Lee Powell, executive director, MDGC (202) 360-6347