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Residents, advocates concerned over state pushback on EPA's 90-day deadline to reduce LaPlace emissions

2 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago Wednesday, July 03 2024 Jul 3, 2024 July 03, 2024 5:45 PM July 03, 2024 in News
Source: WBRZ

LAPLACE — The governor and other state officials pushed back against a 90-day deadline to reduce chloroprene emissions at a plant in LaPlace at a Monday press conference, finding the deadline to be too short.

Robert Taylor is one of the people who will be affected by the new policy, having lived in what some call Cancer Alley his entire life. Taylor said he feels betrayed by the state's opposition to the change for the Denka plant.

"Why don't he take this plant and put it in his backyard? That's what I would like to say to him. Risk the lives of your family. My family lay down at night and breathe this. They wake up and walk and breathe this. Bring this home Mr. Governor," Taylor said.

Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality Secretary Aurelia Giacometto said DEQ gave the plant two more years to reduce emissions. However, the Environmental Protection Agency has already worked with the plant for several years, which led to the shortened deadline.

Gov. Jeff Landry said Monday that Denka is the only place in the country that produces neoprene, and if it is closed this will hurt Louisiana.

Taylor said he disagrees with Landry, saying the plant is doing more harm than good to citizens who stay near the plant.

Shamyra Lavigne-Davey with Rise St. James—a faith-based group that opposes the petrochemical industry in St. James and surrounding parishes—said they are standing with the people of St. John Parish and fighting for their rights.

“You have the right to drink clean water and breathe clean air. And this is not okay for your children to experience this. You don’t deserve to have a governor that’s going to fight for the industry rather than fight for the people that put him in office,” Lavigne-Davey said.

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