Residents Call on Council to Delay Formosa Approval
Fines in Texas Raise Alarm
(St. James Parish, LA)
St. James residents today requested that the St. James Parish Council delay the planned approval of the Formosa Plastics facility so that the parish can get more information about Formosa’s operations near Lavaca Bay, Texas. [Read the request here.] Formosa was fined $121,875 last week by the Texas Commission for Environmental Quality for polluting the bay with its plastic pellets. “We are calling on the parish council to pause its approval and investigate what happened in Texas,” said Sharon Lavigne, President of RISE St. James. “Formosa’s operations in other places provide an example of how they’re operating here, and what we found out last week from Texas was alarming. The council shouldn’t even need us to ask them to stop and investigate. They should be doing that on their own,” said Ms. Lavigne.
St. James residents, led by RISE St. James, were joined by 350 New Orleans, Gulf Restoration Network and the Louisiana Bucket Brigade in a letter sent on Tuesday calling for a delay so that the parish council can gather information on what led to the fine in Texas. The parish is expected to give final approval for the Formosa project at its meeting on Wednesday, January 23rd.
Photographs of the pollution can be found here on the page of the San Antonia Bay Waterkeeper. The TCEQ’s order can be found here. Yesterday’s approval for the fine is item 17, page 6 of this TCEQ agenda.
“It is obvious that Formosa is in a rush to get its approval, but the parish council has a responsibility to the residents of the parish, and the recent fine in Texas is alarming,” said Anne Rolfes of Louisiana Bucket Brigade. “If Formosa is so confident in its operations, then waiting while the parish looks into what happened in Texas shouldn’t be any problem at all. It’s reasonable; it’s the right thing to do.”
The Formosa spokeswoman has consistently said “Don’t Trust Us, Track Us,” at public hearings in St. James. Last week’s fine is the most recent example of Formosa’s operational and pollution problems. Formosa is slated to be constructed in the 5th District of St. James, a longtime residential community that is 87 percent African American.
RISE St. James is a community organization defending the air, soil, water and lives of St. James residents.
The Louisiana Bucket Brigade uses grassroots action to support communities impacted by the petrochemical industry and hasten the transition from fossil fuels.
Sharon Lavigne, RISE St. James, (225) 206 – 0900
Anne Rolfes, Louisiana Bucket Brigade, (504) 452-4909, firstname.lastname@example.org