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Advocate for Clean Air Dies

Edgar Mouton lived much of his 76 years in Mossville, Louisiana, and for the past decade fought doggedly to obtain federal protections from the toxic pollution that pours into Mossville from the largest concentration of PVC and vinyl manufacturing facilities in the U.S. and a host of other hazardous industrial facilities. As a great-grandfather and leader of Mossville Environmental Action Now (MEAN), Mr. Mouton worked to prevent the rising rates of cancer, respiratory disease and other illnesses suffered by residents of the historic African American community in southwest Louisiana.

Sadly Mr. Mouton, passed away June 7 without the EPA fulfilling what it had once promised his community.

“We live among chemicals that leach into our water, our food, our children’s bodies,” said Mr. Mouton in a Nov. 2009 press release. “It’s affected our livelihood in much too many ways with folks being diagnosed with cancer and other diseases.”

Yesterday, Earthjustice filed a lawsuit against the EPA for weakening PVC emission controls, representing MEAN, Louisiana Environmental Action Network (LEAN), Air Alliance Houston, and Sierra Club in the legal challenge. The Lake Charles, Louisiana PVC facility near Mossville and the Deer Park, Texas PVC plant outside of Houston have been allowed by the EPA to emit toxic chemicals at far greater concentrations than at the other remaining 15 PVC plants in the nation.

Mr. Mouton’s friend and fellow clean air activist, Dorothy Felix, said:

After years of work to obtain the stronger air protection we need in Mossville, Louisiana, it was a shock to our community when the EPA suddenly changed course and singled us out for weaker standards as compared to the rest of the nation. The EPA should stay true to its commitment to environmental justice and correct this unfairness by setting stronger air pollution limits that will protect our health as we and all Americans deserve.

We will continue to remember and be inspired by the efforts of Mr. Mouton, while working to carry forward his dream of cleaner air. Our thoughts are with Mr. Mouton’s family, friends and community.

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unEARTHED is a forum for the voices and stories of the people behind Earthjustice's work. The views and opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent the opinion or position of Earthjustice or its board, clients, or funders. Learn more about Earthjustice.