“Formosa Would Be A Death Sentence For St. James Parish”: Activists Call Upon Biden and Army Corps to Stop Formosa Plastics

Activists in New Orleans, St. James, and San Francisco coordinated banner drops Tuesday calling upon President Joe Biden and the Army Corps of Engineers to revoke the federal permit for the proposed $9.4B Formosa Plastics megaplant in St. James Parish. 

This comes months after the Army Corps temporarily suspended the project’s permit and President Biden announced plans to center climate justice, listing Cancer Alley as a community on the fenceline of industrial pollution. Cancer Alley includes river parishes, like St. James, between Baton Rouge and New Orleans that are inundated with pollution from industrial facilities. 

RISE St. James, a faith-based organization led by St. James residents, has been fighting to protect their predominantly Black community against Formosa Plastics, a Taiwanese-based petrochemical company, since 2018. Both their health and history are at stake. If built, the Formosa facility would double air pollution in their community and disturb the unmarked graves of formerly enslaved ancestors. St. James is already home to polluting crude oil and chemical facilities like Occidental, Mosaic, Ergon, YCI Methanol, Noranda Alumina, and NuStar. 

The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, the state agency that granted the project’s Clean Air Act permit, considers only the proposed emissions of a facility, not the compounding pollution from many facilities in a community, when approving permits. The additional pollution from Formosa Plastics would be detrimental to the health of the surrounding community, which already experiences negative health impacts from the other plants and some of the highest coronavirus death rates in the country. RISE St. James’ banner at Tuesday’s action spoke to these negative health impacts, stating, “Formosa Would Be A Death Sentence For St. James Parish”. The proposed facility and associated pipeline infrastructure would also destroy over 60 acres of coastal wetlands that provide vital protection from flooding and storm surge. 

On top of permitted environmental hazards, Formosa Plastics is notorious for violating environmental regulations. In 2019, a Texas judge called Formosa a “serial offender” after it’s Point Comfort facility polluted waterways with thousands of plastic nurdles. The company also came under fire for air quality violations in Texas and a plant explosion in Illinois. Considering that Coastal Louisiana is still recovering from the estimated 743 million Dow Chemical nurdles spilled into the Mississippi this past August, this plant should be a concern for everyone downriver of St. James, especially fisher-folk and businesses whose livelihoods depend upon a plastic-free seafood economy. 

Louisiana Bucket Brigade, one of the groups associated with the Tuesday action, is directing concerned citizens to submit public comment to the Army Corps through their action page.

Help Keep Big Easy Magazine Alive

Hey guys!

Covid-19 is challenging the way we conduct business. As small businesses suffer economic losses, they aren’t able to spend money advertising.

Please donate today to help us sustain local independent journalism and allow us to continue to offer subscription-free coverage of progressive issues.

Thank you,
Scott Ploof
Big Easy Magazine

Share this Article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *