PRESS RELEASE: After years of inaction on petrochemical plants in Black districts, St. James Parish Council passes resolution to study proposed solar farms
(St. James Parish, LA)
A resolution in St. James Parish to place a moratorium on development of solar farms was narrowly voted down at Wednesday’s parish council meeting. The council, however, approved further study of the economic and environmental impacts of any proposed solar farms.
“Why has there been more debate in the council about solar farms than there was about building Formosa’s poisonous plastics plant in the 5th district?” asked Louisiana Bucket Brigade director Anne Rolfes, referring to the $9.4 billion Formosa Plastics plant proposed for the district in St. James with the highest Black populations. “St. James Parish does need to determine the best uses for its land, but it should apply this strict level of scrutiny to the polluting petrochemical plants rather than snuffing out the renewable sources of energy this community needs to secure its future.”
Currently, only one 200-acre solar farm has been granted a permit in St. James Parish. Recent proposals for another 3,900 acres of solar farms have been denied. However, the St. James Parish 2014 Land Use Plan paved the way for massive petrochemical development within Black communities in secretive and deceptive ways, according to this report.
According to a land use attorney who spoke at Wednesday’s meeting, the St. James Parish Council already has discretion to approve or deny new solar projects.
“The difference with a moratorium is that applicants are cut off at the front end, rather than having the right to go through the application process,” he said.
Click here to watch the meeting. (For better audio quality, use of headphones is advised.)
Elon Glickman, 818-669-2859, firstname.lastname@example.org