Formosa Fined for Polluting in Texas
Residents Renew Calls to Reject St. James Facility
(St. James Parish, LA)
Louisiana communities are today highlighting a Formosa Plastics facility near Lavaca Bay, Texas that on Wednesday was fined $121,875 by the Texas Commission for Environmental Quality for polluting the bay with its plastic pellets. The proposed Formosa facility in St. James would produce nurdles, small plastic pellets that local residents fear will likewise end up in their bayous and in the Mississippi River. “We fear Formosa’s air and water pollution in our community, and now we find in Texas that they are causing big problems,” said Sharon Lavigne, President of RISE St. James. “We don’t want Formosa in St. James.”
Photographs of the pollution can be found here on the page of the San Antonia Bay Waterkeeper. The TCEQ’s order can be found here. Yesterday’s approval for the fine is item 17, page 6 of this TCEQ agenda.
Throughout the contentious hearing process within the parish of St. James, the Formosa spokeswoman has said “Don’t Trust Us, Track Us,” a reference to its facilities in other parts of the world. St. James residents have brought information about the company’s pollution in Texas, Baton Rouge and Vietnam to the hearings. Yesterday’s fine is the most recent example of Formosa’s operational and pollution problems.
“As a Texas native, I only hope that the people in Louisiana take serious note of the behavior of Formosa in our communities,” said Diane Wilson, a fourth generation commercial fisherwoman suffering the effects of Formosa’s pollution. “Louisiana communities should be forewarned. I have many, many regrets that I didn’t fight harder to keep Formosa out. Now we’re looking at I don’t how much cleanup of the pellets and the powder that they have put out.”
In 2018, crews in Texas picked up nearly 37,000 bags of pellets and debris from Lavaca Bay and Cox Creek. That amounts to anywhere from 73.4 tons to 733 tons of plastic. The harms of Formosa are not limited to Texas. Vietnamese communities have traveled around the world to shed light on their problems with the company.
St. James Parish’s 5th District, a longtime residential community that is 87 percent African American, is the proposed site of the Formosa facility. “Parish leaders and our own governor are inviting Formosa in to pollute, to destroy the community, and all for plastic bags and throwaway plastics,” said Anne Rolfes of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade. “There is no sound justification for this project. Our state is giving Formosa huge tax breaks and all we get is pollution. This is madness.”
RISE St. James is a community organization defending the air, soil, water and lives of St. James residents.
The Louisiana Bucket Brigade uses grassroots action to support communities impacted by the petrochemical industry and hasten the transition from fossil fuels.
Sharon Lavigne, RISE St. James, (225) 206 – 0900
Diane Wilson, Texas commercial fisherwoman, 361-218-2353; email@example.com
Anne Rolfes, Louisiana Bucket Brigade, (504) 452-4909, firstname.lastname@example.org