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|Officials tour LAEL operation|
Local and state officials were given the grand tour of Louisiana Elastomer, LLC (LAEL) Tuesday, where officials with the company were talking of big improvements over the near future.
"This is an exciting time," said LAEL Chairman Ronald Lane. "And a year from now I see bigger and better things. We're making a profit without needing subsidies from the government."
"I have been watching this for two years now and I was wondering how it would work out," Anders said. "After being about to see it, I believe in it."
The company currently has approximately 30 employees.
"The No. 1 thing is jobs," said State Senator Neil Riser. "And I am excited about what this plant is doing."
"I'm excited," said LAEL Vice-President Tommy Ferrera. "Everything is moving very well. I am real pleased with where we are today. The factory has a laboratory with more than $60,000 in equipment in it and we have plans to expand the lab and add another $65,000 in equipment later."
LAEL shreds used tires into either a pellet or sheet form which will be used for several products, including truck bed liners, mats, shoes, car bumpers, etc.
Construction on the $10 million facility began in July 2007, and the factory began limited operations in March.The company, which provides a unique and cleaner solution to recycling scrap tires, has already begun exporting its product to China, Sri Lanka, Mexico and Germany.
Lane made references to Vidalia's longtime quest to build a port.
"That will allow us to receive products from barges on the river," he said.
"That's a big key," Anders said. "Having to truck the tires in here is very expensive. Getting a port is a key to expansion."
The company's environmentally friendly technology replaces the current standard disposal practice, producing a value added product that provides a permanent solution to the hazardous waste problem relating to the disposal of scrap rubber and waste tires.
"It is also important to note that for every 100 tires that are recycled, just over six barrels of oil are saved because of the petroleum products and the energy saved in the process," Wells said. "Our company is having a true environmental impact."
"That is what impresses me," Riser said.
"This is an example of a true public/private partnership," said Vidalia Mayor Hyram Copeland. "The state of Louisiana is working to bring investment dollars to all corners of the state. We see the result of jobs, clean technology and international business opportunities all through the growth of Louisiana Elastomer. It's a good day for Louisiana and especially good for the city of Vidalia."
U.S. Congressman Rodney Alexander said he also supports the plant and its environmental concerns.
"With the good legislators in this area such as Neil (Riser) and Andy (Anders), the Mayor (Hyram Copeland) and the local people here, we will see what we can continue to do for them," Alexander said.
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