"In this Louisiana parish, residents are already surrounded by industrial plants and factories. They’re desperate to stop a new plastic company."
"On a recent summer evening, about 40 people sat in Freetown Hall in St. James Parish, Louisiana, passing around plastic objects: a water bottle, a pump moisturizer bottle and a tall food container.
Holding the food container in one hand, Beverley Alexander, a St. James Parish resident, approached Wilma Subra, an environmental scientist who drove in from Lafayette for the meeting.
“This is the plastic they are going to make at the plant?” she asked. Subra nodded yes. “Should I stop using these?” The scientist answered quietly, “That’s up to you.”
St. James is a rural community of just over 21,000 on the Mississippi River, better known for its plantations than its plastics. Some of its residents, as well as activists from around the state, had come to the hall to strategize how to stop the construction of a $9.4 billion chemical plant proposed by Taiwan-based Formosa Plastics. The facility, to cover 2,400 acres about 2 miles upriver from the meeting, would be the largest in the parish, which already hosts a fertilizer plant, a polystyrene plant and several oil and gas terminals and pipelines. It would also be one of the largest plastic producers in the nation."