The head of an Indian company that plans to build a plastics factory in Lockport, N.Y., is defending the plan, pointing to both its financial and environmental benefits.
Varunkumar Velumani sent Plastics News
additional information about the project in response to a report
that a Vermont-based nonprofit is calling on local officials to reject the proposed plastics factory.
"Our new plastics manufacturing facility in Western New York will have positive impacts on the local economy," he said in a statement, which cites job creation, economic growth and increased tax revenue among the benefits.
He added that the company will attract and support suppliers and ancillary industries and will use advanced manufacturing processes that will have long-term benefits for the area.
SRI CV Plastics Inc., based in Perundurai, India, has proposed building a 13,870-square-foot factory on land that it would purchase from the Lockport Industrial Development Agency.
The company estimates the cost of the project at $2.34 million, and said it would create 20 full-time jobs.
SRI CV Plastics is seeking $600,000 in state and local assistance for the project. According to the company's application for assistance, the proposed plant would be the company's first U.S. facility.
The plant would initially make single-use food packaging, and a second phase would make PVC pipe for agricultural use.
Beyond Plastics, a Bennington, Vt.-based group headed by Judith Enck, a former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regional administrator, sent a letter on June 29 to the development agency urging members to reject public subsidies for the project.
Beyond Plastics cited the recent train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, as its reason to oppose the Lockport project.
"Plastics facilities bring risks to the communities where they are sited," Enck said. "The train disaster in East Palestine, Ohio, showed us how the use of PVC plastic — which is made from toxic vinyl chloride — can rock the lives of entire communities with dangerous pollution."
Velumani's response said the SRI CV Plastics injection molding and thermoforming plant will use sustainable practices throughout its processes.
"Overall, setting up a plastics manufacturing facility like the one envisioned by SRI CV Plastics that utilizes post-consumer recycled resin will contribute to the environmental goals of Western New York by reducing waste, conserving resources and promoting a more sustainable approach to plastics production," he wrote.
The statement emphasized that the factory will only make finished products — not plastic resin, like some of the operations that Enck criticized in her letter to the local officials. SRI CV Plastics will purchase resin and sheet from other suppliers, and its products may incorporate post-consumer or biodegradable feedstocks.
"Raw materials produced by these manufacturers from recycled plastic will be used by SRI CV Plastics to the greatest extent possible," he wrote. "SRI CV Plastics will also be equipped to produce products using biodegradable plastics to the extent possible, based on advancements in technology and the intended end use of these products."
The Lockport Industrial Development Agency board has a public hearing on the project scheduled for July 13. In a statement, the board said: "As with all projects, we have scheduled a public hearing before our board and we are looking forward as always to comments pro and con. Our board will consider any comments and further information from the applicant as with all decisions."
The letter from Beyond Plastics was co-signed by leaders of 62 organizations. The letter said both single-use packaging and PVC pipe "cause environmental harm, and New York needs to be working to eliminate them, not subsidize them."