For Immediate Release, March 4, 2020


Julie Teel Simmonds, (619) 990-2999,
Sharon Lavigne, RISE St. James, (225) 206-0900,
Diane Wilson, (361) 218-2353,

Opponents of Formosa Plastics Project to Demand Louisiana’s St. James Parish Council Rescind Approval

CONVENT, La.— Opponents of Formosa Plastics’ massive proposed petrochemical complex in Louisiana will urge the St. James Parish Council today to rescind its land-use permit for the project, following up similar earlier requests with new information. The demand follows the discovery of burial sites of enslaved people on the property, the filing of two lawsuits against the project, and the record-setting $50 million settlement of a lawsuit against Formosa for polluting Texas waterways with billions of plastic pellets.

Diane Wilson, the lead plaintiff in the Texas case, will argue that the rampant plastic pollution she documented and exposed since the council’s December 2018 vote on the project should prompt a new vote. Wilson will be joined by RISE St. James founder Sharon Lavigne and other opponents who say the council acted without having all the information to understand the lasting damage this project would do.

Formosa is proposing to build one of the world’s largest plants for turning fracked gas into plastic pellets, which would double the toxic air pollution in a largely African American community known as Cancer Alley because of health problems related to industrial pollution.

What:St. James Parish Council meeting, where opponents of the Formosa Plastics project will demand the council rescind its approval in light of new information

When:Wednesday, March 4, 6:30 p.m.

Where:St. James Parish Courthouse, 5800 Highway 44, Convent, LA, 70723

Who:RISE St. James founder Sharon Lavigne, Diane Wilson of San Antonio Bay Estuarine Waterkeepers, and representatives of Louisiana Bucket Brigade, Healthy Gulf, Center for Biological Diversity, Earthjustice and other groups opposed to the Formosa Plastics project


“Formosa Plastics has been exposed as a serial polluter that has deceived our communities,” Wilson said. “The council needs to protect public health, keep plastic pollution out of the Mississippi River and Gulf of Mexico, and reconsider the damage this project would do. We’ve learned so much about Formosa since the council approved this terrible project. I’ve seen the damage Formosa does to the environment.”

“In December, we asked them to rescind the vote because of these burial sites and we haven’t heard back. We asked for a moratorium last summer and never heard back. They need to do something,” Lavigne said. “How do we get the Parish Council to protect our community and the grave sites of our ancestors? They should listen to us, not just Formosa.”

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.