The chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources and one of his committee colleagues urged President Joe Biden on Wednesday to “permanently revoke” wetlands permits for the $9.4 billion Formosa Plastics complex proposed for St. James Parish, calling it “an affront to environmental justice.” In a letter sent to the president Wednesday, U.S. Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva, D-Arizona, the committee chairman, and U.S. Rep. A Donald McEachin, D-Va., said the plant would be contrary to the president’s goal of cutting pollution for fence-line communities and remains a test of his promised environmental justice efforts. “Allowing the Formosa plastics complex to continue would cause irreparable harm to the Black community members of St. James Parish, destroy the environment, and set back your goals of achieving an equitable and just transition. Mr. President, the time to end this project is now,” the congressmen wrote in the letter.The Advocate
President Biden has specifically called out Cancer Alley as one of the reasons he wants to halt Climate Change and protect marginal housing units greatly impacted by pollution. The Governor and State laud the economic benefits of the Formosa Plant but never mention the health impacts. Not surprising, Senator Cassidy disagrees.
U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., who recently disputed Biden’s characterization of the river region as Cancer Alley, said Formosa has received approval from the Corps of Engineers and other agencies because it meets health and safety standards. He said “these two Democrats, who are not from our state,” were making claims not based on science. “This is someone outside of Louisiana demanding these communities live in poverty, sacrificing Louisiana jobs and economic security to satisfy their conscience,” said Cassidy, who is a physician. “This plant will be built—if not in Louisiana, in a foreign country with worse environmental standards—increasing global greenhouse gas emissions.”
FG LA, the site owner, also defends the plant.
Janile Parks, spokeswoman for FG LA, the Formosa affiliate behind the project, said the complex was sited after a thorough review and charged national environmental groups are attacking the petrochemical industry, which contributes 26% of the state’s economy and employs one in seven people in Louisiana. “We must work together to find sustainable solutions that do not devastate Louisiana’s economy,” she said.
Yes, but can we say “do not devastate Louisiana’s health”?