Petersburg plant closure impacts 240 workers, city

Posted at 3:49 PM, Aug 16, 2013
and last updated 2013-08-16 16:00:05-04

PETERSBURG, Va (WTVR) -- The Boehringer Ingelheim (B.I.) Chemical plant in Petersburg is set to close December 2014.

"It's really hard to find a job," Petersburg resident Robert Woods said.

On Thursday the Petersburg plant announced plans to close the chemical plant, affecting approximately 240 workers.  The facility manufactures active pharmaceutical ingredients.  But changes in the pharmaceutical industry are to blame for the planned closure.

"It's disappointing, but the pharmaceutical industry is fluctuating as we have learned with B.I.," Petersburg City Manager William Johnson III.

City leaders said not only will the hundreds of workers be affected, but the city is expected to lose millions of dollars in tax revenue.

"In real estate tax we get roughly $385,000," Johnson said.  "Machinery tools you are talking about $2.5 million.  But we are going to work with B.I. to hopefully bring in someone to replace them at that site."

But not everyone is bothered by the closing of the Petersburg plant.  One Petersburg business owner hopes by closing the plant, there will be more focus on the environment and less on economics.

"I feel sorry for any human being that loses their job," Petersburg business owner Carla Tackas said.  "You need to switch green for green.  Instead of everything in our world being about money it needs to be about the environment, because our substrate is hanging by a thread."

City leaders said they are going to do everything they can to market themselves globally, in order to attract a suitable buyer.