Local News

Jun 17, 2014 7:04 PM by Janine Reyes

EPA Approval Clears the Way for Construction at Voestalpine

PORTLAND -- A $740 million foreign investment is one step closer to becoming our neighbor.

Voestalpine broke ground this Spring, but the critical Environmental Protection Agency greenhouse gas approval cleared last Friday, paving the way for progress.

Voestalpine is the largest Austrian investment to hit U.S. soil.

"We swapped the nice bay view and marina view for a nice construction site view, which is actually pretty attractive as well," Voestalpine Head of Corporate Communications, Matthais Pastl said while showing 6 News around the site Tuesday.

Portable units give him a front row view of some groundbreaking construction. They just moved there last week.

It took years of planning and a critical permit from the EPA, but now, about 200 construction workers are gearing up to build a dock, administration building and steel plant.

"Its going to be a new landmark, but we're making sure that it looks beautiful," Pastl said. Beautiful and built by local crews; by the projects end about 1,400 construction workers will be working here.

"Its going to be like a small city with all the contractors, we really pay close attention to award as many contracts to local companies and you'll see a lot of local companies here on site," said Pastl.

Crews out there right now are doing what's called test piling, they've been doing that a little while now, but by the end of this week, they'll actually get construction going, that means they'll start laying the foundation for what will become a state of the art plant and administration building.

"It is going to be a benchmark and Voestalpine is only interested in benchmarks," Pastl explained.

Part of that benchmark has features like sea water intake for air conditioning and, of course steel processing. That helps save water and it's clean.

Along the dock, not only are their nets to keep from construction-caused fish kills, but sea grass is being replaced in the water faster than construction crews can damage it, they are also putting back more than they take.

Pastl says Voestalpine will remain environmentally friendly, "it's all about keeping the coastal bend clean and safe," he said.

The plant is also expected to turn a profit in the steel industry and create local jobs.

The plant is on track to be complete by December 2015.

Pastl says they are looking to hire for key positions sometime this year though so those employees can be a part of the project process.

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