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Coalition Marches From New Orleans To Baton Rouge To Protest Industry

Travis Lux
Anne Rolfes, with the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, leads a crowd in a protest chant prior to a public meeting in Vacherie, LA related to the proposed Formosa chemical plant. Residents in the region have been protesting against industry for years.

River parish residents are once again protesting the proliferation of petrochemical plants along the Mississippi River between New Orleans and Baton Rouge.

Advocates with several organizations, including the Coalition Against Death Alley, RISE St. James, The Concerned Citizens of St. John, the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, Justice and Beyond, 350 New Orleans and others will kick off a two-week march tonight in New Orleans.

They want the state to reduce pollution in river parishes by putting a moratorium on new plants and to enforce stricter air pollution standards for the ones that are already operating there.

Reverend Gregory Manning is with the Coalition Against Death Alley, and calls the situation in the region a form of genocide, “It’s a slow death of a specific ethnic group - predominantly African-Americans, who are being affected by the absolute inundation of these chemicals which are poisoning their water, their air, and their land.”

Manning says they have delivered messages to governor John Bel Edwards but haven’t received any response from him or the legislature. Edwards’ office did not respond to requests for comment Tuesday afternoon.

Back in August, Edwards’ administration announced plans to conduct a study on the cancer risk faced by those who live near the Denka neoprene plant in St. John the Baptist Parish, according to The Advocate.

The march will include stops in Reserve, St. James, Donaldsonville, Ascension, Georgetown, Port Allen and Scotlandville before ending in Baton Rouge on October 30th.

Tegan has reported on the coast for WWNO since 2015. In this role she has covered a wide range of issues and subjects related to coastal land loss, coastal restoration, and the culture and economy of Louisiana’s coastal zone, with a focus on solutions and the human dimensions of climate change. Her reporting has been aired nationally on Planet Money, Reveal, All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Marketplace, BBC, CBC and other outlets. She’s a recipient of the Pulitzer Connected Coastlines grant, CUNY Resilience Fellowship, Metcalf Fellowship, and countless national and regional awards.

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