For Immediate Release, May 24, 2019

Contact:

Lauren Packard, Center for Biological Diversity, (510) 844-7103, lpackard@biologicaldiversity.org
Anne Rolfes, Louisiana Bucket Brigade, (504) 484-3433, anne@labucketbrigade.org

Louisiana Announces Air-pollution Hearing for Formosa Plastics Plant

St. James Parish Residents Oppose Project's Pollution, Environmental Racism

ST. JAMES PARISH, La.— The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality today announced a public hearing and comment period to consider granting an air-pollution permit to a massive plant Formosa Plastics wants to build in St. James Parish.

Local groups have decried the project’s pollution and the decision to locate it in a predominantly African-American community with a high concentration of industrial polluters. The coalition opposing the Formosa project and other petrochemical facilities is holding a march May 30 through June 3 from St. John Parish to Baton Rouge, La. to highlight their concerns.

“The state of Louisiana is getting its rubber stamp ready for the Formosa application, despite Formosa's track record of dumping plastic in the waterways of Texas and making people sick in Vietnam,” said Anne Rolfes, director of Louisiana Bucket Brigade. “While our government may give this known polluter permission, we the people do not, and we will fight Formosa every step of the way.”

“Formosa wants to pollute Louisiana’s air just to create more throwaway plastic. This project would harm local residents and feed the ocean plastic pollution crisis,” said Lauren Packard, an attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “It isn’t enough to ban plastic bags and straws. We have to fight plastic pollution at its source. That means stopping the fossil fuel industry’s efforts to use fracked natural gas to flood our world with throwaway plastic.”

These types of plastic plants can emit more than 100 chemicals, including some hazardous air pollutants known to cause serious health problems. Air pollution from petrochemical facilities can lead to chronic conditions such as lung cancer, brain damage, allergic dermatitis, and liver and kidney damage. This plant proposes to spew thousands of tons of these harmful chemicals into the air each year.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, four of Formosa’s seven plants nationwide are currently violating environmental laws — including two other plants already operating in Louisiana.

The Center for Biological Diversity and other national environmental groups have warned that the project perpetuates environmental racism. They oppose the industry’s plans to increase plastic production by 40 percent over the next decade: Formosa and other petrochemical companies are turning their oversupply of fracked natural gas in the United States into plastic for single-use plastic packaging and consumer products.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.4 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.