Pastor Manning, chair of the Greater New Orleans Interfaith Climate Coalition gave a press conference December 15th at Broadmoor Community Church, where he defended those with little or no voice in matters that impact them. Mitsubishi Chemical Company wants to build a $1 billion plant in Geismar which would produce methyl methacrylate which is used in the production of resins and plastics. Ascension Parish is already home to chemical plants and, Elizabeth Soychak from the Coalition Against Death Alley stated: “Ascension Parish is one of only 33 counties or parishes in the United States with air toxic cancer risks exceeding the EPA threshold of 100 million.” This new plant would add more toxicity to the air.
Pastor Manning wants Mitsubishi to stop the planning as he stated: “We are here to tell you that it is not feasible. That it is not going to be healthy in any way, shape or form for the residents in Ascension Parish or anywhere up and down the river. We are here to tell Mitsubishi Chemical that there are no more vacancies.” The state has offered the company a $4 million performance-based grant as well as other local and state incentives.
This is just one more plant that is receiving opposition as the cancer health of the Geismar area is elevated by 130 per million just due to air quality. At some point the state should factor in human costs along with economic benefits for a true picture of what the Death Alley residents are facing.