Earthjustice Denounces Approval of Air Permits for Massive Petrochemical Complex in Louisiana’s Cancer Alley

Louisiana green-lights permits despite threats of high concentrations of toxic pollution to area residents


Siham Zniber, Earthjustice, (202) 667-7120

Today, the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) granted a series of air permits allowing Taiwanese-based Formosa Plastics’ to build a massive petrochemical complex in St. James Parish. This decision comes despite new and alarming information about the levels of cancer-causing chemicals the new facility would emit.

“This is the wrong decision for the St. James community, the state of Louisiana, and for our planet. We are deeply disappointed that LDEQ is putting the interests of big polluters over the health and safety of Louisianans. The Formosa petrochemical complex will double the amount of toxic air pollution in the region, including known cancer-causing chemicals. It will dump 13 million tons per year of carbon pollution in our air at a time we need to urgently combat the climate crisis. We will continue to stand with the St. James community to stop Formosa,” said Corinne Van Dalen, Earthjustice staff attorney.

The complex faces strong opposition from the St. James community given the threats of toxic pollution to public health and their environment. The permits allow Formosa to emit more than 13 million tons of carbon pollution each year, as well as huge amounts of the cancer-causing chemical ethylene oxide.

Last month, it was revealed that the Formosa complex would displace a former slave burial ground — which the company knew and failed to notify St. James Parish officials. RISE St. James, Louisiana Bucket Brigade, Earthjustice, and the Center for Constitutional Rights have urged the Parish Council to rescind its approval of the project.

View of industrial chemical complex in St James, Louisiana.
Shell Convent refinery in St. James Parish, Louisiana. (Alejandro Dávila Fragoso / Earthjustice)

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