Residents sue St. James Parish to prevent new petrochemical factories from being built

March 28, 2023
Louisiana residents have filed a federal lawsuit against St. James Parish after the parish council approved the construction of several new factories.

Louisiana residents have filed a federal lawsuit against St. James Parish after the parish council approved the construction of several new factories. According to the Associated Press, parish residents claim that the local government is violating their civil rights, environmental justice, and religious liberty by allowing petrochemical plants that emit toxic chemicals to be built in the parish.

The Guardian is reporting that the lawsuit claim that the parish council has “intentionally chosen to locate over a dozen enormous industrial facilities in the majority Black fourth and fifth districts [of the parish], while explicitly sparing white residents from the risk of environmental harm.” The lawsuit also stated that “every single request by heavy industrial corporations to locate their facilities in majority Black districts in the parish while rejecting requests to locate them in white districts.”

NOLA.com is reporting that last year, the St. James Parish council banned solar farms after residents of Vacherie, a predominantly White community, claimed that wind turbines would lower property values in the city. Shamyra Lavigne of Rise St. James told NOLA.com, “White residents didn’t want solar farms in their backyards because they didn’t like the aesthetics. But we have petrochemical plants in our backyards, and they’re polluting us.”

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