NEW ORLEANS – New York State Attorney General Letitia James and four other Attorneys General sent a letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, calling today for further analysis of the climate, wildlife and environmental justice impacts of the petrochemical complex proposed by Formosa Plastics in the parish of St. James, Louisiana.
âI am grateful that these Attorneys General understand the threat posed to us by Formosa Plastics and are calling for action,â said Sharon Lavigne, Founder of RISE St. James. âThe Corps must listen and do a proper analysis of a project that would put our lives in danger. Because I believe that if there is an honest assessment of the environmental racism behind the approval of this project, it will never be allowed. We have to stop Formosa Plastics. “
In November, the Corps suspended its license for the project after it was sued by the Center for Biological Diversity, RISE St. James, Healthy Gulf and the Louisiana Bucket Brigade. Twenty other organizations and thousands of individuals then asked the Corps to examine the environmental impacts of the project and the role played by racial prejudice and systemic racism in locating this factory in a low-income black community. income already overloaded with pollution.
âWe are pleased that these state attorneys general are joining our coalition’s call for a more rigorous federal review of the terrible Formosa Plastics project. Any serious analysis should lead the Corps to reject this major threat to public health and our climate, âsaid Julie Teel Simmonds, lawyer at the Center. âWe cannot let industry pollute another black working class community because it creates mountains of plastic that the world doesn’t need or need. I hope this letter will help convince Formosa Plastics to abandon this dangerous project. “
The growing number of opponents to the project includes the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, which called the project “Environmental racism” in March and urged US officials to reject the project. The Corps’s initial permit also ignored the impacts on the water, air and health of the complex and failed to protect burial sites of slaves discovered on the property.
âIt is refreshing to see public servants act in the best interests of the people they serve. Louisiana public officials, including our attorney general, remain lenient with the petroleum and chemical industries, âsaid Anne Rolfes, director of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade. âWe are happy that at least some attorneys general really have a backbone, and we are grateful for their support. We will continue to push the Biden administration to take a stand for environmental justice and permanently revoke the permits for this project.
The petrochemical complex proposed by Formosa Plastics would include 10 chemical manufacturing plants and numerous support facilities. The complex is said to emit 13.6 million metric tonnes of greenhouse gases and 800 tonnes of toxic air pollution each year, doubling toxic air emissions from St. James Parish, which already has the worst air quality in the country. .
âWe are grateful that these attorneys general are pushing the corps to do the right thing,â said Michael Esealuka, an organizer for Healthy Gulf. âThere are over a dozen industrial facilities already located near working class, black communities in St. James Parish. An environmental justice analysis of the Formosa Plastics project will show what the inhabitants of the parish have long been saying: St James is full.
By turning fractured gas into building blocks for a massive amount of single-use packaging and other unnecessary plastic products, the project would worsen climate change and the ocean plastic pollution crisis.
Today’s letter was sent by the attorneys general of New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and the District of Columbia. In their letter, they said their states would be affected by the project and its inadequate review undermining national policies on environmental justice, climate change, loss of wetlands and protection of migratory birds.
“Without such an analysis,” they wrote, “the plastics complex will inevitably produce adverse health, environmental and climate effects that will harm our states.”