Abandoned in (Plant)ation Country
Earlier this year, we told the story of how a change in the White House had the potential to turn the tide for Black communities fighting against more environmental pollution in one of the country's largest hotspots for toxic air — Louisiana's industrial corridor nicknamed Cancer Alley.
The Environmental Protection Agency's new leader pledged to use all the tools in his toolbox to deliver "environmental justice," and his agency launched a groundbreaking investigation into alleged civil rights violations by the state. Environmental advocates thought it could be the moment everyone waited for after years of debate over discrimination.
Then, out of the blue, the EPA dropped its high-profile investigation without any resolution. It blindsided everyone.
Today on Sea Change, we go back to Louisiana's industrial corridor to try to find some answers. Why when the EPA was on the cusp of reforming the petrochemical state of Louisiana did it just... back off? Turns out, the implications are even bigger than we imagined. Far bigger than Louisiana.
To fully understand this update, scroll back in our feed and listen to our third episode, (Plant)ation Country.
For more information about Halle's reporting and the circumstances surrounding the EPA's civil rights investigation, click here.
A special thanks to Robert Taylor of the Concerned Citizens of St. John, Sharon Lavigne of Rise St. James, Lisa Jordan of the Tulane Environmental Law Clinic, Monique Harden of the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice and Carlton Waterhouse of Howard University School of Law's Environmental and Climate Justice Center for speaking with us.
This episode was hosted and reported by Halle Parker. Our managing producer is Carlyle Calhoun. Editing help was provided by Nora Saks. Our sound designer is Maddie Zampanti. Sea Change is a WWNO and WRKF production, distributed by PRX. We are part of the NPR Podcast Network.