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PRESS RELEASE: Louisiana Bucket Brigade Releases Statement on DOW Chemical Explosion, Exposes Misinformation

(Plaquemine, LA)

After an explosion at the DOW Chemical plant in Plaquemine, LA on Friday July 14th, Anne Rolfes, the Executive Director of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, released the following statement exposing the dishonesty in the company’s response and how government officials parrot and enable this misinformation:

“An explosion at Dow Chemical that rocked homes and sent a mushroom cloud into the sky near the Louisiana state capitol on Friday night has exposed how the chemical industry routinely relies on misleading statements to evade accountability after major petrochemical accidents in Louisiana. The troubling responses to this explosion reveal the same dynamics that have been at work for half a century in Louisiana. They include:

  • A claim that there was no harm from the explosion despite the fact that nearby residents had to turn off their air conditioners and fans in the heat of the summer.
  • Failure to protect these neighbors and the general public from ethelyne oxide. Ethelyne oxide is highly carcinogenic, and federal guidance has led some states (for example, Illinois and Georgia), to phase out the chemical or close facilities that release it. No such precautions have been taken in Louisiana. The explosion happened at a unit that handles ethelyne oxide.
  • While DOW Chemical officials claimed there were ‘no readings at this time’ in regard to chemicals in the air, the company failed to mention that it is 1) not conducting immediate air monitoring in the neighborhoods nearby and b) is only monitoring for high levels of chemicals that might kill workers instantly. In the aftermath of the explosion, the facility was not monitoring at levels that threaten health in the short or long term and was not monitoring to determine the impact on neighbors. The claim that there were “no readings” is a manipulative distortion of air monitoring results, one long practiced by industry in Louisiana.
  • Government spokespeople, including those at the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), are parroting DOW Chemical’s claims. These government offices are not only failing to hold DOW and other companies accountable for misrepresenting data that could impact people’s health, they are helping to spread this misinformation thereby putting the very people they’re entrusted with protecting in danger.
  • The explosion by one of the biggest corporations in the world took place within 15 miles of the Governor’s mansion. Yet, there has been no statement by Governor John Bel Edwards. Likewise, the Congressmen who represent the area and the nearby area (Representatives Carter and Graves) have been silent, as have state legislators. Representative Graves’ silence is especially troubling given his home’s proximity to the explosion and given his current attempts in Congress to roll back oversight of dangerous chemical plants, refineries, plastics plants and gas export terminals.

This explosion follows a 2019 accident at the same facility. If this accident is treated like past accidents by the Louisiana DEQ, there will be either no penalty or an insignificant penalty. Buried in Dow’s records will likely be information of the company’s missteps, yet the company will be let off scot-free for sending a mushroom cloud near our state capitol.

This explosion and the failure to protect the public is more evidence that the state of Louisiana cannot handle oversight of the facilities it already has. We should not permit more facilities and should certainly not allow unproven technologies like carbon capture to enter our state. As this explosion at Dow Chemical illustrates, Louisiana has neither the will nor the expertise to protect us from the petrochemical industry.”



Elon Glickman, 818-669-2859,, on behalf of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade
Anne Rolfes, Executive Director of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, 504-452-4909,

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.