Shuttered EPA Probe Could’ve Brought 'Meaningful Reform' In Cancer Alley

"As industrial plants have overtaken historic Black communities and burdened neighborhoods with toxic air pollution, environmental advocates and residents of Louisiana’s chemical corridor have spent decades calling for change.

So when the country’s top environmental regulator opened a high-profile civil rights investigation into Louisiana’s Department of Environmental Quality last year, it felt like a watershed moment.

For the first time, the Environmental Protection Agency stepped in to exercise its oversight and evaluate whether LDEQ has granted permits for companies to build and pollute in a way that has caused disproportionate harm to Black communities. Ultimately, they found signs that it has.

After pledging to clean up Cancer Alley — the nickname for the heavily industrialized, 85-mile stretch of the Mississippi River between Baton Rouge and New Orleans — the EPA issued a letter in October 2022 detailing preliminary evidence of racial discrimination and noncompliance by the state."

Halle Parker reports for WWNO August 29, 2023.


"Revealed: Louisiana Created Alleged Conflict Of Interest In ‘Cancer Alley’ Case" (Guardian)

"Closed EPA Probe Could Have Meant Reform For 'Cancer Alley,' Documents Show" (NPR)

"EPA Drops Civil Rights Probe Of Louisiana State Agencies Over Toxic Emissions" (New Orleans Times-Picayune)

"US Ends Critical Investigation in Louisiana’s Cancer Alley" (Human Rights Watch)

"EPA Retreats On Louisiana Investigations That Alleged Black People Lived Amid Higher Cancer Risk" (AP)

"EPA Closes Civil Rights Investigation Into Louisiana Pollution" (Washington Post)

"EPA Closes Civil Rights Investigation in Louisiana, Abandons Effort to Address Longstanding Environmental Discrimination" (Earthjustice release)

Source: WWNO, 09/05/2023