For Immediate Release, February 10, 2021

Contact:

Delia Ridge Creamer, Center for Biological Diversity, (617) 990-7733, dcreamer@biologicaldiversity.org
Sharon Lavigne, RISE St. James, (225) 206-0900, sharonclavigne@gmail.com

Army Corps Receives More Than 5,500 Letters Demanding It Revoke Formosa Plastics’ Permit

Project Opponents Protest in St. James, New Orleans, San Francisco

NEW ORLEANS— A campaign by groups opposing Formosa Plastics’ proposed petrochemical complex in St. James Parish, Louisiana, has generated more than 5,500 letters to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers demanding the project’s federal permit be revoked due to environmental justice, wetlands destruction and pollution concerns. The coalition held demonstrations Tuesday outside the Army Corps office in New Orleans, at the project site in St. James and in San Francisco, with another protest planned for Washington, D.C. on Thursday.

The campaign to generate 15,000 protest letters to the Army Corps by Feb. 12 is being spearheaded by RISE St. James, Healthy Gulf, Louisiana Bucket Brigade and the Center for Biological Diversity.

“We are calling on President Biden to stop Formosa Plastics,” said Sharon Lavigne, president of RISE St. James. “Formosa would be a death sentence for St. James Parish. The Biden administration can uphold its promise to elevate environmental justice and protect our communities.”

These same groups sued the Army Corps in January 2020 for failing to disclose environmental damage and public health risks before permitting the project. In response the Army Corps suspended its Formosa permit in November after admitting to mistakes in its decision to site the plant in a poor Black community already suffering from exposure to industrial pollution.

“We want the Army Corps to revoke Formosa Plastics’ permit and start over. The environmental justice and air-quality issues that triggered the permit suspension are just the tip of the iceberg. This superpolluting project would never survive the rigorous environmental scrutiny it demands and should have received in the first place,” said Delia Ridge Creamer, an organizer with the Center. “This community has already been subjected to too much pollution and environmental racism. The Biden administration has an opportunity to truly lead on environmental justice, and it should start by stopping this terrible project.”

The proposed facility would emit 800 tons of toxic air pollution each year, doubling toxic air emissions in St. James Parish, and more than 13 million metric tons of greenhouse gas pollution. Recent studies have linked exposure to air pollution with higher COVID-19 death rates. It’s one likely factor in the disease’s disproportionate impact on Black Americans.

Formosa Plastics’ proposed complex would include 14 chemical manufacturing plants and numerous support facilities, spanning 2,500 acres, just one mile from an elementary school. By turning fracked gas into the building blocks for a massive amount of single-use packaging and other wasteful plastic products, the project would worsen climate change and the ocean plastic pollution crisis.

Stop Formosa Plastics protect in St. James
Sharon Lavigne (center) and other RISE St. James members protest at Formosa Plastics site. Images from St. James, San Francisco and New Orleans available for media use.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

RISE St. James is a faith-based organization working to protect the land, air, water and health of the people of St. James Parish from the petrochemical industry.