LAPLACE, La.—The U.S. EPA will not pursue civil rights investigations into two Louisiana governmental departments for their issuance of permits for chemical plants near St. John the Baptist and St. James parishes, predominantly Black areas.
The original complaint, filed in January 2022 by the Concerned Citizens of St. John, names the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, the Louisiana Health Department, Denka Performance Elastomer L.L.C. and Formosa Plastics Inc. for allegedly downplaying toxic air emission measurements.
The decision to drop the civil rights investigations came as a shock to the members of CCSJ, who filed the complaint based on Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
"We are terribly disappointed with the decision," Robert Taylor, executive director of the CCSJ, told Rubber News June 28. "At this point, we are regrouping and will decide the next step in light of this decision.
"We are wondering about the whole direction at this point in terms of whether we can rely on or get help from the federal government. Are Louisiana politicians really that powerful? I am still trying to figure this out."