St. James Residents File Freedom of Information Act Request for Formosa Payments to Parish Government and Parish Officials
Requests Comes Amidst Rush Job to Approve Facility
(St. James, LA)
Amidst rumors of payoffs to council members and payment of school board employees’ salaries, RISE St. James and supporting organizations have filed a Freedom of Information Act request for all correspondence and information related to payments by Formosa to the parish government. “The council is trying to rush this plant through, and we want to understand why,” said Sharon Lavigne, leader of RISE St. James. RISE is comprised of St. James residents whose families have lived in St. James Parish for generations. The families have joined together to advocate for clean air, clean water and a healthy parish.
The records request comes as the parish plans a vote on an appeal of a planning commission decision to approve the Formosa facility. The parish council first scheduled the hearing between Christmas and New Year’s, then abruptly changed the date to the 19th of December. The parish council did not reply to RISE St. James’ request to reschedule the hearing until after Christmas, instead giving local residents five days’ notice of the appeal hearing.
In a letter to the parish dated Monday, December 17th, RISE St. James wrote that “It is not transparent to proceed with a vote until the people of St. James have this information [about Formosa’s financial contributions to the parish].”
The law requires that the parish reply to the request within five business days. Two top parish officials, including Parish President Timmy Roussel and Operations Manager Blaise Gravois have long been ensnared in legal troubles regarding malfeasance in office.
What: Freedom of Information Act request is being filed in advance of appeal hearing of planning commission’s approval of Formosa Chemical Complex.
When: Hearing starts at 6 pm, Wednesday, December 19th
Where: Vacherie Courthouse Annex, 2631 Highway 20, Vacherie, LA.
Who: RISE St. James, Louisiana Bucket Brigade, Gulf Restoration Network, 350 New Orleans and others standing up for St. James.
Anne Rolfes, (504) 452-4909, firstname.lastname@example.org