PRESS RELEASE: Advocates Oppose Mitsubishi Chemical Plant at Public Hearing
Ascension Parish community members voice concern for health and climate risks coinciding with industry expansion in Cancer Alley
Local advocates and residents expressed concerns and opposition to the proposed Mitsubishi chemical plant buildout at a public hearing held by the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) on Thursday night. Attendees encouraged LDEQ to reject permit requests and prevent the state from constructing another massive chemical complex in an area already inundated by pollution.
“The air here is already so dirty that the kids can’t play outside anymore,” said Pamela Ambeau, Ascension Parish resident and Treasurer of Rural Roots Louisiana, “I just can’t believe they’re trying to build another toxic plant right on top of us. It makes me furious, and I know it makes my neighbors and family members just as furious too. That’s why we’re telling LDEQ loud and clear that Mitsubishi is not welcome here, and that we’re not going to stop until this plant is gone and our kids can play outside again.”
Geismar residents are surrounded by polluting chemical facilities including BASF, Occidental Chemical Corporation, Shell Chemical, Rubicon, Westlake Chemical, and Air Products and Chemical Inc. According to EPA data, there are more than 5,000 residents who live within a three mile radius of Mitsubishi’s proposed site and their cancer risk due to air pollution is higher than 98 percent of Louisianans. Despite the state’s recent efforts to crack down on environmental justice groups, Rural Roots is continuing to work with local families who have long expressed concerns over the threats posed to their health and property values due to the constant stream of new plants.
“Proposing more chemical plants in the community of Geismar is unconscionable, and we will work alongside residents to challenge construction of this facility every step of the way,” said Anne Rolfes, executive director of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade. “The state cannot continue to ignore Louisianans’ growing opposition to their communities being used as toxic chemical dumping grounds.”
“Our citizens need protection, not more pollution,” said Ashley Gaignard of Rural Roots Louisiana, who lives nearby and has been concerned about the project since recently hearing about it, “The proposed Mitsubishi Chemical plant would introduce our residents to increased levels of forever chemicals and hazardous infrastructure, causing further harm to communities already devastated by industry.”
Members of the public are invited to submit comments online until February 5, 2024, and future public hearings are expected to take place.
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Rural Roots introduces our kids to environmental justice, provides literacy and promotes community stewardship and earth care; making our communities aware and striving to educate our kids on the social justice and unfair exposure and how it’s inequitably distributed by teaching art and gardening.