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PRESS RELEASE: In major victory for St. James Parish, Louisiana, judge remands Formosa Plastics permits

Louisiana Bucket Brigade director heralds decision: ‘This is vindication for all of us’

Thursday, September 15th, 2022 – On Wednesday, Louisiana’s 19th Judicial District Court reversed the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality’s (LDEQ) decision to issue air permits to Formosa Plastics. The company needed the permits to build its proposed petrochemical complex in St. James Parish.

In response, Anne Rolfes, Executive Director of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, released this statement:

The Louisiana Bucket Brigade was proud to support Sharon Lavigne, RISE St. James and all the people of the parish who successfully stood up to say ‘no’ to one of the largest plastics plants in the world.

On Wednesday, this community — still reeling from Hurricane Ida — got the good news: Formosa Plastics’ air permits were remanded by Judge Trudy White.

This is vindication for all of us, especially for the historic Black community of St. James.  Judge White affirmed what we have known all along, that the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality made a terrible decision when it issued Formosa’s air permits. People’s lives are worth more than plastic.

This was a victory not only for St. James Parish, but for all of us. Formosa had plans to emit 12 million tons of greenhouse gasses a year, yet the company never even mentioned climate change in its air permit application — and the state didn’t ask.

People in the 5th district of St. James parish are still living in trailers. Some still have blue tarps. At this moment, our state should be vigorously protecting us. In her ruling, Judge White delivered that message

Formosa set its sights on Louisiana because the facility’s massive pollution made it illegal to build in its home country of Taiwan. Yet that didn’t matter to Governor Edwards and parish officials, who four years ago announced the arrival of Formosa without having consulted with the nearest neighbors.

Sharon Lavigne, who lives within a five-minute drive of the site, had to hear about it on TV.

Formosa Plastics was a do-or-die moment in St. James Parish. Had it been constructed, it would’ve been the knock-out blow to the 5th District, a majority Black District under fire from the parish government. Yet Ms. Lavigne and her neighbors stood up to protect their homes. In doing so, they protected all of us.

Today is a great day. It shows that leadership is coming from the grassroots. We will continue to lead.


About Louisiana Bucket Brigade

The Louisiana Bucket Brigade collaborates with communities on the fenceline of polluting industry in Louisiana. We engage in grassroots action to hasten the transition from fossil fuels.

Visit the website for more information.