Tell Gov Edwards: Protect Louisiana from Toxic Air & COVID-19

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, LDEQ Secretary Chuck Carr Brown

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As Louisiana sees soaring numbers of coronavirus cases, our communities of color are increasingly at risk. More than 70% of Louisiana residents who have died from COVID-19 were African American, even though only one-third of our state's population is black.

Residents in St. James Parish and Louisiana's River Parishes face high levels of industrial air pollution. Communities of color have always been sacrifice zones for environmental injustice, and now these communities are vulnerable to disease caused by COVID-19.

This new nationwide study by Harvard researchers confirms that communities living with serious air pollution are more likely to die from COVID19. If Formosa Plastics moves forward with its plan to build one of the largest plastic-producing facilities in the world in St. James, the toxic air pollution in the parish would double.

The residents of St. James Parish cannot take any more toxic air.

Governor Edwards, we urge you to direct the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality to revoke Formosa Plastics' air permit! Stop Formosa Plastics from building its facility in Louisiana.


Organized by Louisiana Bucket Brigade, Rise St. James, Center for Biological Diversity & the No Formosa coalition.

Sponsored by

To: Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, LDEQ Secretary Chuck Carr Brown
From: [Your Name]


Dear Governor Edwards:

As Louisiana sees soaring numbers of coronavirus cases, our communities of color are increasingly at risk. To this day Louisiana has up to 17,030 COVID-19 cases and 652 deaths. More than 70% of coronavirus deaths in Louisiana have been African American, even though only one-third of our state’s population is black.

Residents in St. James Parish and the surrounding River Parishes face high levels of industrial air pollution, which increases the risk for severe respiratory infections. Communities of color have always been sacrifice zones for air pollution and environmental injustices, and now these communities are vulnerable to disease caused by the coronavirus.

This new nationwide study by Harvard researchers confirms that communities living with high levels of air pollution - specifically pollution from tiny particles called particulate matter - are dying at significantly higher levels when contracting coronavirus. The particulate matter may also facilitate the transmission of the virus. Using the analysis put forth in that study, air pollution in St. James is expected to increase the coronavirus death rate by over 50% for residents living near the site of the proposed Formosa Plastics petrochemical plant.

Despite this well-publicized study, the spokesman for the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality said that “the department had no information about the effect of pollution on the coronavirus.” This willful ignorance is a stain on your administration.

If Formosa Plastics moves forward with its plan to build one of the largest plastic-producing facilities in the world in St. James, the toxic air pollution in St. James would double. The Formosa Plastics plant would worsen air pollution in Cancer Alley by emitting hundreds of thousands of cancer-causing compounds per year. The project would also release over 13 million tons per year of carbon pollution.

The residents of St. James Parish cannot take any more air pollution.

While coronavirus does not discriminate, the systems we have in place do. This means our response as a state must address the disproportionate risks vulnerable communities have to this pandemic. The rest of the nation is watching.

An appeal of Formosa Plastics’ air permit is currently pending. Any thorough review of the facts clearly shows that St. James Parish already suffers from too much air pollution.

Governor Edwards, we urge you to direct the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality to revoke Formosa Plastics’ air permit and stop Formosa Plastics from building its facility in St. James Parish or anywhere in Louisiana.