Voices From the Fenceline

by Kate Melges

October 12, 2021

Watch Peak Plastic Foundation’s docuseries: Voices from the Fenceline that tells the powerful, real stories of community members and activists who live in Cancer Alley in Louisiana.

Last month, we launched our investigative report exposing how Big Brands like Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and Nestlé are contributing to the expansion of plastic production and threatening the global climate and our communities.

Now we want to amplify Peak Plastic Foundation’s docuseries: Voices from the Fenceline that tells the powerful, real stories of community members and activists who live in Cancer Alley, Louisiana an 85 mile stretch of approximately 150 plastic plants, chemical facilities, and oil refineries and who are fighting as a community to stop the devastating impacts of petrochemical production and expansion in their home. These are the Voices From The Fenceline. 

Watch the videos below and take action today to tell President Biden to stop petrochemical expansion!

Not in our backyard.

Meet Sharon Lavigne, winner of this year’s Goldman Environmental Prize and founder of Rise St. James. The community environmental justice group is fighting to stop the construction of Formosa Plastics’ new 2,300-acre plant in her backyard of St. James, Louisiana. 

“I would like to tell my story. I live on the east bank of the Mississippi River along a corridor that is called Cancer Alley.”

Meet Barbara Washington, from St. James Parish, a fifth-generation granddaughter of a woman who came out of slavery and purchased 34 acres of land in St. James Parish. Barbara is fighting to preserve her home for the next generation. 

We have the right to clean air, to clean water and clean soil.

Meet Mary Hampton, a community member from Reserve, LA, who lives in the shadow of the Denka-DuPont plant and is calling on President Biden to stop petrochemical expansion. 

“I am the only parent that my kid has left so I have to fight for them, for my grandkids, for the rest of the family, and the community.”

Meet Myrtle Felton, from St. James Parish, who is living with the health impacts of the petrochemical production in her home and fighting to stop expansion.

…The entire government, from local, state, and federal government, don’t enforce the rules. And they allow lobbyists to bullshit them into giving exceptions and exemptions.

Meet Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré, founder of GreenARMY, an alliance of organizations and residents across Louisiana fighting the pollution of fenceline petrochemical plants. 

In Louisiana, pollution limits are in many cases double, triple, quadruple, even five times higher than what the EPA says is safe.”

Meet Dr. Kimberly Terrell of the Tulane Environmental Law Clinic, who advocates for communities living along the fenceline of petrochemical plants.

I hope that these videos have helped shed light on the stories of people living in the shadow of the petrochemical industry and that they’ve inspired you to join the fight. President Biden can help Sharon, Mary, and thousands of their neighbors by stopping the permitting of new and expanded petrochemical and plastic facilities.

Take action now to tell President Biden to keep his promise of upholding environmental justice by stopping all new petrochemical expansion in the United States. 

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Kate Melges

By Kate Melges

Kate Melges is an oceans campaigner based in Seattle. She leads Greenpeace’s Ocean Plastics work. Kate’s focus is ending the flow of plastic pollution into the ocean.

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