(Norco, LA) African-American neighbors of the troubled Shell Chemical plant are reeling today in the wake of news that a terrorist threat was made in their community only two days after the tragic World Trade Center attacks. “We were scared about Shell before, but now it’s unbearable,” said Gaynel Johnson, a Diamond resident of the 100% African American section of Norco. “It’s a volatile situation with all of those chemicals just sitting there. Shell needs to move us out before we are all blown up.”
The terrorist threat is officially logged in the records of the St. Charles Parish Emergency Operations Commission, which notes that a terrorist threat was made on September 13th at 4:10 PM. Recently, security measures have increased at Shell and other plants in the state due to large volumes of explosive and deadly chemicals that might be unleashed in a future attack by terrorists. “There is no way that Shell can prevent determined terrorists,” said Anne Rolfes of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade. “These records prove a definite, imminent threat to the community. There is no choice but to move innocent civilians out of the line of fire.”
Shell is stirring up a bitter fight in Norco, LA, over its controversial plan to relocate only one half of a historic and tightly knit neighborhood. Many families and social networks will be cut and destroyed if Shell continues to refuse relocation to Diamond and East Streets. The battle has attracted national attention from environmental groups, Hollywood celebrities and influential Civil Rights leader, Congresswoman Maxine Waters. The battle has taken on an urgency in light of the terrorist threat.
The September 13th threat confirms warnings from security experts that facilities like Shell are targets of terrorist networks. Such networks are aware that explosive chemicals and toxic gases could be unleashed with devastating effect on large populations by targeting such plants. The September 13th threat indicates that terrorists know the area and the location of these devastating chemicals.
"Fear of a poison gas attack are now real for neighborhoods like Diamond in Norco," said Ms. Rolfes. "Shell must do the right thing and let all the people go instead of using them as pawns in their new development scheme." Shell Chemical currently has an undisclosed “development” plan for Diamond instead of the relocation plan that the Diamond residents have long asked for.
Concerned Citizens of Norco has asked Shell to explain why they would want to develop a polluted area and terrorist attack zone in the wake of the September 13th threat.
WHAT: Press conference
WHERE: One Shell Square, 701 Poydras Street at Baronne
WHEN: 11:00 AM, Wednesday, October 3, 2001
WHO: Concerned Citizens of Norco and supporting organizations
After Press Conference: Take a tour with the Concerned Citizens of Norco around the
perimeter of Shell facility to see vulnerabilities and potential access points for terrorists.
ONE PAGE ATTACHED: September 13th, 2001 call log from EOC with threat.