Terrorist threats stir up Diamond relocation debate: Shell asked to reconsider buyout in wake of possible terrorist attack

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(Norco, LA) African-American neighbors of the troubled Shell Chemical plant in Norco, LA, are raising concerns about the safety of their entire neighborhood in the wake of news that such facilities may be targets of terrorists. 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. 

"We are asking Shell to reconsider their buyout to include all four streets in Diamond so that we won't be the victims of a terrorist attack. They need a security zone, and we don't want to get blown up," said Gaynel Johnson a Diamond Street resident of the 100% Africa American section of Norco. 

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 latest revelations from security experts have led to concerns 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. 

"Fear of a modern Bhopal type accident that killed thousands of nearby residents of a chemical plant in India are now more real for neighborhoods like Diamond in Norco," said Anne Rolfes of the LABB. " Shell must do the right thing and let all the people go instead of using them as pawns in their new development scheme." 

Concerned Citizens of Norco has asked Shell to explain why they would want to develop a polluted area and potential terrorist attack zone in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks. 

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 

WHY:    The citizens of Norco are living in a daily state of anxiety -- fearful that Shell could blow up at any moment. The citizens will urge Shell to buy them out -- in light of the new threat -- and get them out of harm's way.

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