From the steps of the State Capitol building, Greenpeace today launched a "Toxics Patrol" bus trip to more than a dozen of the state's chemical facilities whose emissions have made Louisiana a "global toxic hot spot."
From the steps of the State Capitol building, Greenpeace today
launched a "Toxics Patrol" bus trip to more than a dozen of the
state's chemical facilities whose emissions have made Louisiana a
"global toxic hot spot" The bus tour begins with stops at three
controversial facilities: Rhodia, the nation's first napalm
incinerator; Formosa, which makes components of vinyl; and Dow,
another vinyl producer which plans to partner with Shintech on its
newly-proposed vinyl plant in West Baton Rouge.
Joined by representatives of several state and local
environmental groups, Greenpeace displayed specially created signs
it plans to post at chemical facilities, warning that toxic
pollution "does not stop at the fence."
"Louisiana ranks number one in the nation in per-capita toxic
releases to the environment, and her citizens are bearing a
terrible health burden for it," said Greenpeace Toxics campaigner
Damu Smith. "Our Toxics Patrol is out to expose some of the state's
worst toxic offenders."
Greenpeace also responded today to a March invitation from
Governor Mike Foster to meet. In a letter the group released today,
Greenpeace said it will meet with the Governor but that
"Öwe would prefer to meet with you along with
representatives of the many people in Louisiana whose lives,
families and communities are being severely harmed by your
environmental policiesÖ. The economic planners and environmental
policy makers under your and previous administrations have made
Louisiana home to some of the most dangerous and polluting
industries ever builtÖ. Louisiana is at the center of the nations
growing problem of environmental racism and injusticeÖ. You seem to
dismiss this issue as if the problem does not existÖ."
Recent blood tests of citizens in Mossville -- a predominantly
African American community situated in the midst of the PVC
manufacturers Condea Vista, PPG, and Westlake -- have turned up
dioxin levels as high as twice the national average.
Greenpeace has declared Louisiana a "Global Toxic Hot Spot"
because the toxic emissions created in Louisiana -- particularly
from those industries involved in the manufacture of vinyl
(polyvinyl chloride, or PVC) -- can also contaminate people and the
environment thousands of miles away.
The week-long tour kicks off just as
some in Congress are trying to prevent the publishing of worst-case
accident scenarios for the nation's chemical producing facilities.
"This is merely another industry attempt to keep the public in the
dark about the dangerous nature of the chemicals being produced in
their midst every day," Smith said. "Given some 200 chemical
facilities between Lake Charles and New Orleans, Louisiana citizens
have a tremendous stake in knowing exactly what could happen to
them in the event of a catastrophic accident."