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Stop the petrochemical boom

Delivery to the Department of Energy

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What’s At Stake

As we move towards zero-emissions and 100% clean energy, the oil and gas industry is grasping at straws to protect its profits by betting big on petrochemicals: toxic chemicals made from oil and gas that are used to make plastics, industrial chemicals, and pesticides. We need to tell the Department of Energy not to spend taxpayer dollars that will boost Big Oil’s petrochemical boom. 

In the U.S., the industry is planning a massive build-out of petrochemical plants. Many of these facilities are planned in low-income communities and communities of color already overburdened by pollution and a long history of environmental racism. If the build-out goes forward, it will lock in more climate pollution, plastic waste, and toxic chemicals that poison our communities.  

For example, Formosa Plastics is planning a new petrochemical facility in the 5th District of St. James Parish in Louisiana — a predominantly Black community in an area that is known as Cancer Alley because of all the toxic infrastructure concentrated there and corresponding high rates of cancer. This facility will produce as much carbon as three million cars and triple the area’s already-elevated exposure to carcinogens all so that it can produce needless plastic waste. Residents of the parish are organizing to stop this terrible injustice, but they are fighting a well-resourced and powerful industry — which is why we need to act in solidarity. 

The oil and chemical industries have helped create a status quo where pollution and health issues are concentrated in communities of color and low-income communities while profits and power are accumulated by companies who seek to further exploit people and the planet. We can reverse this. Tell the Department of Energy to follow through on President Biden’s all-of-government approach to tackling environmental and climate injustices and see to it that our tax money does not support this deadly industry. 

Petrochemical facility

Smoke stacks and distillation towers at a large petrochemical plant are silhouetted against the golden evening sky.

Your Actions Matter

Your messages make a difference, even if we have leaders who don't want to listen. Here's why.

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You level the playing field.

Elected officials pay attention when they see that we are paying attention.

They may be hearing from industry lobbyists left and right, but hearing the stories of their constituents — that’s your power.

Our legislators serve at the pleasure of the people who gave them their job — you. When you contact your elected official, you’re putting a face and a name on an issue. Whether or not you voted for them, they work for you, for the duration of their term.

Make sure your elected officials know whose community and whose values they represent. (Find your local, state, and federal elected officials.)

Your action is with us in court.

If a federal agency finalizes a harmful action, the record of public comments provides a basis for bringing them into court.

Throughout each of the public comment periods we alert you to, Earthjustice’s attorneys are researching and writing in-depth, technical comments to submit — detailing how the regulation could and should be stronger to protect the environment, our communities, and our planet.

We need you to join us — your specific experiences, knowledge, and voice are crucial to add to the Administrative Record through the comment periods.

Lawsuits we file that challenge weak or harmful federal regulations rely on what was submitted during the comment period. The court can only look at documents that are in the Administrative Record — including the public comments — to decide if the agency did something improper.

Your actions aid our litigation. Taking action and submitting comments during a comment period is substantively important.

It’s the law.

Federal agencies must pause what they’re doing and ask for — and consider — your comment.

Many of us may have never heard of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), but laws like these require our government to ask the public to weigh in before agencies adopt or change regulations.

Regulations essentially describe how federal agencies will carry out laws — including decisions that could undermine science, or weaken safeguards on public health.

Public comments are collected at various points throughout the federal government’s rulemaking process, including when a regulation is proposed and finalized. (Learn more about the rulemaking process.) These comments become part of the official, legal public record — the “Administrative Record.”

When the public responds with a huge outpouring of support for environmental protections, these individual messages collectively undercut politicians' attempts to claim otherwise.

What this means is each of us can take a role in shaping the rules our government creates — and ensuring those rules are fair and effective.