"'Cancer Alley' Residents Say Industry Is Hurting Town"

"In Louisiana’s industrial heart, the shadow of Trump’s deregulation push looms as St James residents fight chemical plants, pipelines and laissez-faire policies".

"'We’re sick of being sick, we’re tired of being tired,' said Pastor Harry Joseph of Mount Triumph Baptist Church, which serves this sleepy riverside town of about 1,000 residents, mostly poor and African American. Once a bucolic village of pasturelands and sugarcane fields on the banks of the Mississippi, St James, Louisiana, is now a densely packed industrial zone in the heart of Louisiana’s petrochemical corridor, commonly referred to as 'Cancer Alley'.

It’s only anecdotal evidence of what life is like here, but Joseph says he has buried five residents in the last six months, all victims of cancer.

After a $1.9bn methanol plant recently broke ground and with another $1.3bn methanol plant and a controversial new oil pipeline planned for the area, Joseph’s one-room church has become a staging ground for an environmental justice fight – albeit one with tempered hopes under Donald Trump, even before he served notice on the Paris accord on climate change last week

Joseph has emerged as the de facto leader of a group of local residents demanding residential buyouts – for those who say they have had enough and struggle to sell their homes – and pressuring state and federal agencies to halt further development. With regulation that critics say is loose and incentives-rich, even by Louisiana standards, St James offers a glimpse into the type of unchecked development that Trump has hailed as a precondition for American jobs and economic growth."

Lauren Zanolli reports for the Guardian June 6, 2017, with photo by Julie Dermansky.

Source: Guardian, 06/07/2017