Barbado’s chemical industry is facing a possible chemical spill that could cost it billions in lost productivity and could be fatal to workers.
The industry was among the first to warn of the spill after the spill occurred on Tuesday in a wastewater treatment plant in Lake Charles.
The spill occurred after a chemical spill at the plant prompted officials to shut down the facility.
“We are going to need a long and hard look at our entire operations,” said Alistair Williams, president and chief executive officer of the Barbadobans.
The Barbadorans have filed a lawsuit against the state.
The state said it is taking legal action against the Barboras and has not ruled on the matter.
The lawsuit was filed Thursday in federal court in New Orleans.
The chemical spill happened when the state had not shut down its wastewater treatment facility at the site, according to state records.
“The plant was fully functioning,” said Joe Ralston, executive director of the Louisiana chapter of the American Chemistry Council, an industry group.
“All we had to do was shut it down.”
The state has said it expects to recover about $1 billion in economic losses from the spill, which is the third major chemical spill to hit Louisiana in the past decade.
The Louisiana Office of Emergency Management is handling the spill and is asking residents to stay home.
State officials said the chemical spill was not related to the state’s recent ban on new, heavy industry.
“This is not a health concern,” Williams said.
“It is a safety concern.”
Williams said the spill is the second major spill in the state since October, when the plant shut down after it was found to have been releasing chemicals into the environment.
The chemicals released included benzene and perchlorate, both known carcinogens.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ordered the chemical industry and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality to stop releasing toxic substances into the air and waterways.
The EPA said the chemicals released by the plant were safe.
“EPA and the EPA are reviewing all the data and the available information to determine the best way to move forward with our plans to prevent further releases of these chemicals,” EPA spokesman Ryan Taylor said in a statement.
The barbadoban chemical industry, which manufactures a wide range of chemicals, including polyethylene, was among a handful of companies to warn Louisiana officials of the chemicals leak at the facility earlier this month.
The warning came a day after the EPA warned that chemical pollution from the facility could lead to cancer.
The company said the state should not ban the chemical because it does not have the ability to regulate the releases.
The gas spill was reported to the Louisiana Commission on Environmental Quality, which was formed after the state banned the chemical, the EPA said.
The Commission on Energy and the Environment is investigating the spill.
The city of Lake Charles has said that it will spend $5 million to replace the chemical plants.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.