For Immediate Release, October 15, 2020

Contact:

Delia Ridge Creamer, (617) 990-7733, dcreamer@biologicaldiversity.org
Sharon Lavigne, RISE St. James, (225) 206-0900, sharonclavigne@gmail.com
Anne Rolfes, Louisiana Bucket Brigade, (504) 452-4909, anne@labucketbrigade.org

‘March for Black Lives’ to Say No to Louisiana’s Amendment 5, Formosa Plastics

GRAMERCY, La.— Opponents of the massive proposed petrochemical complex that Formosa Plastics seeks to build in Louisiana are planning a “March for Black Lives: No on Amendment 5” for this Saturday.

The event will highlight how RISE St. James, Louisiana Bucket Brigade and other groups strongly oppose the November ballot measure that would let Formosa and other big industrial polluters avoid paying property taxes that fund schools and other vital public services.

“Amendment 5 would be a disaster,” said Sharon Lavigne, president of RISE St. James. “Industrial polluters would get a 30-year property tax break, and we the people would have to pick up the tab. Formosa would benefit from this amendment, so we’d basically be paying them to pollute our community.”

What: “March for Black Lives, No on Amendment 5,” an event urging opposition to the ballot measure that would exempt big polluters from paying property taxes

When: Saturday, Oct. 17, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Where: March begins at 616 E. Main St., Gramercy LA 70052 (Note: Gramercy officials have demanded a $10,000 bond for the march, which the groups are disputing in court, so the starting location is subject to change).

Who: RISE St. James, Louisiana Bucket Brigade, Healthy Gulf, Sunrise Movement New Orleans and the Center for Biological Diversity.

The groups sued the federal government over its approval of Formosa’s project in St. James Parish, construction of one of the world’s largest plastic-making plants. The judge is now considering a motion to invalidate those permits over environmental racism, destruction of wetlands and failure to protect this Black community and the unmarked burial sites of its ancestors on the property.

"Something has changed in our country and in our state. It's a realization that Black lives matter, and also that it is possible to stop oil and gas and chemical companies from destroying our state,” said Anne Rolfes of Louisiana Bucket Brigade. “Elected officials are still scared to say no to these industries, so we the people are leading the way. This march is about racial justice, a better future, a better economy, about fairness and a state freeing itself after 100 years of abuse by the petrochemical industry."

Louisiana officials already gave Formosa a $1.5 billion tax break on the project, waiving local property taxes for eight years. Amendment 5 would allow property tax waivers of up to 30 years.

“We can’t let Formosa Plastics pollute this community just to create more throwaway plastic,” said Delia Ridge Creamer, an organizer with the Center. “Amendment 5 would add insult to that injury by letting this profitable multinational corporation avoid paying the property taxes that Louisiana desperately needs.”

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.

The Louisiana Bucket Brigade collaborates with communities adjacent to petrochemical plants, using grassroots action to create an informed, healthy society and hasten the transition from fossil fuels.

Programs: