Alon USA Energy Inc.’s Krotz Springs refinery will be shut if the Morganza spillway is opened to relieve flood pressure on the Mississippi River, said Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is beginning the work needed to open the spillway, Jindal said during a press conference in Baton Rouge. The decision on whether to the spillway would be made by the Corps.
When the river’s flow reaches 1.5 million cubic feet per second at Louisiana’s Red River Landing, the Corps will open the spillway and send a torrent of water down the Atchafalaya River basin for the first time since 1973, said Jindal. The flow is at 1.36 million cubic feet per second now, he said.
Alon is completing a plan to build an extra levee to supplement the levees on the Krotz Springs refinery’s north and east sides, the company said today in a statement. The refinery, on the west bank of the Atchafalaya, can process 83,000 barrels a day of crude oil, according to the statement.
The river in Memphis crested at 47.87 feet yesterday, just below the 1937 record of 48.7, according to the weather service. The bulge of water caused by the convergence of the swollen Mississippi and Ohio rivers at Cairo, Illinois, is moving slowly downstream toward New Orleans and the Gulf of Mexico, which it will reach in about two weeks.
The rising water has interrupted coal shipments to power plants in Tennessee, flooded more than 100,000 acres of Missouri cropland, forced thousands from their homes and prompted the Army Corps of Engineers to open the Bonnet Carre Spillway to reduce the river’s force through New Orleans.