NEW ORLEANS (AP), In connection with the investigation into whether Louisiana’s environmental and health agencies discriminated against Black residents, the Environmental Protection Agency is investigating. air pollutionFrom existing and proposed facilities between New Orleans, Baton Rouge.
Lilian Dorka, director of EPA’s civil rights compliance officer, recently notified environmental organizations and the state about an investigation into Louisiana’s departments for health and environmental quality.
It involves two complaints. Both claim that the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality has not paid enough attention to their concerns. Environmental justiceOne also accuses state Department of Health.
The complaints concern at least seven existing plants as well as two large planned projects in two parishes along the industrial corridor that runs between Louisiana’s largest cities.
Both are important in planning a $9.4 billion Formosa Plastics complexIn St. James Parish A $400 million grain terminalIn St. John the Baptist Parish. There are several plants that are already in existence, including the Denka Performance Elastomers plantwhich the Japanese company purchased 2015 in St. John.
Gregory Langley, press secretary at the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, stated that officials of the agency’s permit-processing process is impartial. Told The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate.LDEQ deals with all issues in a fair and equitable manner,” he stated. “LDEQ will cooperate with EPA in this matter.
Steven Russo was the general counsel of the Louisiana Department of Health. We have received the entire complaint from EPA and we are looking into it carefully.
In January, Administrator Michael Regan said EPA will surprise inspect industrial sitesIt is suspected that water and air pollution can cause health problems.
Environmental groups refer to the southeast Louisiana industrial corridor as Cancer Alley.
Nearly every census tract between Baton Rouge, New Orleans and New Orleans has… a greater estimated cancer risk from toxic air than at least 95% U.S. residents, according a Tulane Environmental Law Clinic complaint.
Professor Lisa Jordan, director of law clinics, stated in an email to The Associated Press that the department must establish policies and procedures to address and prevent the disproportionate burden on air pollution suffered by Black communities.
The complaint claims that air emission permits approved by the chemical complex and grain terminal for the grain terminal were part of a pattern that dates back to at least 2016 and includes permits for at least six plants.
The clinic represents several groups that oppose plans for the grain terminal. They claim it is likely to release their weapons. fine particle pollution.
Cal Williams, Greenfield’s Chief Executive Officer, stated to the newspaper Friday that terminals’ emissions would be below the EPA’s strictest air quality standards.
Earthjustice and Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law filed a complaint against the state departments. They complained that Denka’s plant, the only U.S. facility that makes chloroprene, continues to release the carcinogen, and that other nearby plants are emitting cancer-causing ethylene oxide.
According to the complaint filed by Concerned Citizens of St. John as well as the Sierra Club, the health department failed inform predominantly Black residents of St. John of health threats from Denka’s emissions.
Their complaint also states that the Sunshine Project complex, planned near Donaldsonville by Formosa Plastics Group member FG LA LLC will release particulate material, nitrogen dioxide and volatile carbon monoxide.
The Sunshine Project was thoroughly vetted, approved by state and parish bodies because it relied heavily on sound science in its design and met all regulatory requirements,” Janile Parks, spokesperson for the AP stated in a statement emailed directly to the AP.
Jim Harris, Denka spokesperson, said that state tumor registry data don’t show an increase in cancer rates in St. John the Baptist Parish.
He said that the state agencies value science over sensational pseudostudies in order to be considered real science.”
According to a 2014 National Air Toxics Assessment conducted by the EPA in 2014, the individual lifetime risk of cancer from both chloroprene or ethylene oxide was at the rate 2,000 per 1,000,000 people. This is the highest rate in the country and close to the Denka plant.
Since Denkas 2018 agreement to install new equipment, the company’s chloroprene emission levels have decreased dramatically. However, levels at several monitoring sites in the area have been well above the EPA’s cancer risk level of 0.2 micrograms/cubic meter for the past year.
Denka has asked EPA for reconsideration of its listing of chloroprene, a probable human carcinogen, as a result of a peer-reviewed company study.
Dorka stated that her office will investigate whether DEQ’s air pollution control program is designed to discriminate against individuals and look into the state’s handling of Denkas permits.
It will also check whether the health department has provided information on health threats from Denka, and other nearby sources for pollution, she wrote.