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Cancer Alley

The Air In Louisiana’s ‘Cancer Alley’ Is Even Worse Than Expected

Since the 1980s, the 85-mile stretch of the Mississippi River that connects New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, has been known as “Cancer Alley.” The name stems from the fact that the area’s residents have a 95 percent greater chance of developing cancer than the average American. A big reason for this is the concentration of industrial facilities along the corridor — particularly petrochemical manufacturing plants, many of which emit ethylene oxide, an extremely potent toxin that is considered a carcinogen by the Environmental Protection Agency and has been linked to breast and lung cancers.

EPA’s New Rule Aims To Cut Toxic Emissions

Leaders in the fight for clean air from Louisiana’s Cancer Alley joined the Environmental Protection Agency’s Administrator Michael Regan on April 9 in Washington, D.C., for the announcement of a new rule governing air toxics-spewing chemical plants. The rule is intended to prevent cancer in surrounding low-income and minority communities. The announcement represents a milestone for environmental justice in communities historically overburdened by air-toxics pollution. But a growing number of proposed industrial projects threaten to further pollute the mostly low-income Black neighborhoods along the Mississippi River between Baton Rouge and New Orleans.

Fighting Industrial Development In Louisiana’s ‘Cancer Alley’

Wallace, Louisiana - There are only a handful of homes situated on Alexis Court, but there are a whole lot of memories. At one end of the short street, facing the Mississippi River, is Fee-Fo-Lay Café, run by twin sisters Jo and Joy Banner. The Fifolet, according to local lore, is a spirit that haunts the swamps and guards the treasures of pirate Jean Lafitte. Growing up, the Banner sisters heard a variation of the myth from their grandmother, and the café bears its name as an homage to their grandparents’ stories. Inside, the walls hold the stories and pictures of at least four generations. Many of their family members live around Fee-Fo-Lay — the family has been in the town of Wallace since its beginnings.

LDEQ Draft Permit Rattles Neighbors Of Hazardous Waste Disposal Site

Sliska Larry read the proposed operating permit for the expanded Clean Harbors hazardous waste disposal site, less than 2 miles from her home, with her 9-year-old grandson at her side. She instinctively pulled him closer, as if to shield him, as she absorbed its details. “It’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” Larry said. The preliminary draft permit, which the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality issued last week, allows Clean Harbors to continue the open burning and open detonation of materials for at least another eight months. The facility disposes of outdated munitions from several military bases, including the shuttered National Guard training site at Camp Minden, and old fireworks from Disney World.

Black Residents Of Cancer Alley Sue Local Government

A discrimination lawsuit filed Tuesday in the Eastern District of Louisiana alleges that the St. James Parish Council steered polluting facilities into Black neighborhoods along the Mississippi River. As a result, Black residents there are forced to breathe in more pollution and face a higher risk of related health problems, according to the suit filed by Inclusive Louisiana, Mount Triumph Baptist Church, and RISE St. James. “We’re being ignored and we have to do whatever we have to do to stop it,” said Myrtle Felton, a lifelong resident of St. James Parish and co-founder of Inclusive Louisiana, a community group focused on environmental injustices.

Cancer Alley Activists Hold DC Funeral March; ‘Declare Climate Emergency’

Cancer Alley, Louisiana - Environmental justice activists from "Cancer Alley" on Monday held a funeral procession in Washington, D.C. to remember victims—overwhelmingly Black people—killed by petrochemical industry pollution and to demand that U.S. President Joe Biden declare a climate emergency and do more to stop deadly fossil fuel projects. Activists led by the frontline action group RISE St. James held a second-line march—the procession, replete with brass band musicians and parasol-toting dancers, that rallies behind relatives of the deceased in a traditional New Orleans funeral—to the White House, where they held large photos of dead cancer victims and pleaded with Biden to take action to protect their lives and their environment.

Louisiana Court Strikes Blow To Formosa’s Giant Plastics Plant

Louisiana - A years-long battle to stop the chemical company Formosa from building a massive petrochemical complex along the Mississippi River in southern Louisiana swung in favor of residents on Wednesday when a state district judge withdrew the air permits that the company needs to operate. The Taiwan-based chemical giant first announced its plans to build the $9.4 billion petrochemical complex on a sprawling 2,400-acre site in St. James Parish in April 2018. If approved, the so-called “Sunshine Project” would have been one of the largest and most expensive industrial projects in the state’s history. Governor John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, celebrated it as a boon for economic development that would bring 1,200 new jobs to the region. But the project encountered swift opposition from the local community.

Louisiana’s ‘Cancer Alley’ Residents In Clean Air Fight

Louisiana - Along a winding stretch of the Mississippi River between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, the sugar cane fields that have surrounded small neighborhoods for generations have been gradually replaced by smokestacks and chemical flares. Residents have protested the industrial plants for years, saying the facilities affect their health. Now, several companies and the State of Louisiana are proposing new industrial facilities that they say will be carbon neutral through a process called carbon capture. But after years of industrialization, many local residents and environmental activists are skeptical of the proposals.
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