PRESS RELEASE: Louisiana Bucket Brigade Responds to Louisiana Governor Edwards’ Trip to Visit Asian Companies, Polluters
“What kind of economic development plan prioritizes polluters over families who have lived here for generations?”
(New Orleans, LA)
On Friday, March 3rd, Louisiana Governor Jon Bel Edwards’ departed on a trip to Asia to speak with executives of major South Korean and Japanese companies. With many of these companies being major polluters in Louisiana, the Louisiana Bucket Brigade’s Executive Director, Anne Rolfes, released the following the statement:
“Here we go again. The Governor of Louisiana is in Asia this week marketing our beautiful state to the worst polluters on the planet, continuing the devastating pattern of pursuing destruction masked as economic development. All you have to do is go to Cancer Alley to see the devastation such marketing has wrought. There, you have the biggest companies in the world adjacent to communities struggling to survive. The same is true in Sulphur and Mossville, near Lake Charles. The state’s myopic pursuit of petrochemicals, export gas terminals and heavy industry has left home values plunging and stores closing next to some of the biggest, richest companies in the world. What kind of economic development plan prioritizes polluters over families who have lived here for generations?
Governor Edwards detailed some of the companies he will be visiting. We will communicate with those companies loud and clear: We do not share the vision put forward by our Governor, we will oppose these projects with every breath we have, and work to build a better, stronger, different economy.
These are not empty words. In the last several years, we have defeated Wanhua Chemical, South Louisiana Methanol and Syngas. We have delayed Formosa Plastics for years. We have capable teams of organizers, lawyers and families in Louisiana who want something different and are willing to pour in our time and our love for our home to get it. We know that some of these companies, like Formosa Plastics, are not even allowed to build in their own countries because the pollution levels violate the law.
One of his targeted companies – Zen-Noh Grain Corporation – has even complained about the industry in Louisiana. Its St. James Parish facility is near Nucor, one of many facilities in Louisiana using unproven technology. Nucor Steel has been spewing battery acid, and neighbors and workers at Zen-Noh Grain are inhaling it. Also on the list of companies is Shintec, a company that St. James residents successfully drove away in the late ‘90s.
That’s where luring polluting companies with massive subsidies belongs: in the last century. Our state must pursue a different, healthier and more diverse economy, from the film industry, tourism and technology to renewable energy,which is set to account for more than 90 percent of global electricity capacity over the next five years. Louisiana will miss the boat on this growth if we continue to offer ourselves as as a colony to richer parts of the world. It is time to pivot away from destructive industry. Our state is worth so much more than being a dumping ground.”
About Louisiana Bucket Brigade
Since 2000, Louisiana Bucket Brigade has worked with towns and neighborhoods next to Louisiana’s oil refineries, chemical plants and other petrochemical infrastructure — the places most impacted by pollution. Louisiana Bucket Brigade partners with the communities to help residents amplify their voices and challenge the petrochemical industry’s relentless expansion.