Environmental Justice

Water is held in an aerating pond at the Sewerage & Water Board plant in New Orleans.

High levels of ‘Forever Chemicals’ in southeast Louisiana drinking water spur concern

BY: - January 25, 2023

NEW ORLEANS – The Water Collaborative of Greater New Orleans conducted a study last summer on the level of chemicals flowing in the Mississippi River, the central source of drinking water for many communities in southeast Louisiana. The results were not comforting. The researchers found high levels of PFAS, a group of synthetic, potentially harmful […]

Terry Brown stands outside his home on the property where his family first settled in Grant Parish in 1817.

Tight-knit Colfax community combats open-burn pit: ‘We are the flush toilet…’

BY: - January 15, 2023

COLFAX, Louisiana – The drive to Terry Brown’s farm is peaceful and scenic no matter which route one takes. The Central Louisiana roadside is lined with woodlands, pecan groves, vast open fields and, nearer to the Browns, a well-kept horse farm. The 71-year-old Colfax native planted 50,000 daffodil bulbs in fields where watermelons and cotton […]

Neighbors of the Clean Harbors hazardous materials disposal facility in Colfax take part in a Dec. 15, 2022, public hearing

Neighbors oppose Central Louisiana burn pit permit renewal

BY: - December 20, 2022

COLFAX – Neighbors of a Grant Parish hazardous waste disposal facility are fighting the renewal of its state operating permit. They say Clean Harbors Colfax has faced few repercussions for serious past violations at its burn pit, and they fear the continued open burning of materials there will lead to further groundwater and soil contamination […]

Supreme Court admissions case could upend environmental justice laws

BY: - December 7, 2022

In recent years, more states have crafted environmental justice policies to help communities of color plagued by polluted air and water, poor health outcomes and limited access to green space. But now they fear that work could be upended by a pair of pending U.S. Supreme Court cases examining affirmative action admissions policies at universities. If the court […]

COMMENTARY

From the Nile to the Mississippi, petrochemicals are the next big climate fight around the world

BY: - December 2, 2022

Recently I returned from the United Nations Climate Change Conference or Conference of the Parties, known as COP27, in Sharm El Sheik, Egypt, where I joined global leaders, advocates and NGOs who are charting the global path forward on climate. As I met with people from around the world to highlight the importance of environmental […]

COMMENTARY
Smoke is seen rising in the distance from the BioLab Westlake after Hurricane Laura passed through the area on August 27, 2020,

Environmental justice delayed for Gulf Coast does not have to be environmental justice denied

BY: and - October 24, 2022

After a long, hot summer of helping people throughout the Gulf Coast who have lost their homes and livelihoods to hurricanes and calling on elected officials in Washington to stop the proliferation of fossil fuel plants, we decided energy officials needed to see what’s happening here firsthand. So we invited the commissioners of the Federal […]

Sinking homes, damaged roads: How a New Orleans community struggles against subsidence

BY: - October 12, 2022

This story was reported through a partnership that includes the Louisiana Illuminator, Floodlight, The Lens, WWNO-FM and The Guardian.  NEW ORLEANS – In the early 1990s, James Wright lost his family home in the 9th Ward neighborhood when a new school was built on his block. “They basically took our houses because they gave us […]

Aerial photo of industrial zones along river in St. James Parish

‘Lip service’: Judge blasts DEQ for approving Formosa project in St. James

BY: - September 15, 2022

Environmental groups in Louisiana are celebrating a state judge’s decision Wednesday to revoke permits for a massive $9.4 billion Formosa Plastics facility planned in the middle of Louisiana’s so-called Cancer Alley. The ruling comes after nearly three years of litigation on behalf of a community of Black residents in St. James Parish. Judge Trudy White […]

Slave descendants testify at United Nations

Federal government to review proposed grain elevator’s risk to Louisiana slave burial sites

BY: - August 30, 2022

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will meet with the Descendants Project, a group of Louisiana slave descendants, to review whether construction of a proposed grain elevator in St. John the Baptist Parish might harm slave burial grounds and other historic properties. The meeting, set for Thursday, comes two weeks after Descendants Project members testified […]

air pollution monitor

Air monitors alone won’t save communities from toxic industrial air pollution

BY: and - May 22, 2022

One summer night last year, air began flowing into a steel canister across the street from the Little Bo Peep Child Development Center in Calvert City, Kentucky. The pollution monitor hummed into the morning as parents dropped off their toddlers and later into the day as the kids played outside. Within a month, a lab […]

Supreme Court could hamstring federal regulatory power in high-profile air pollution case

BY: - February 17, 2022

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in a case that centers on the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions that drive climate change. How the court decides the case could have broad ramifications, not just for climate change but for federal regulation in many areas.

COMMENTARY
Family rescued from Port Arthur, Texas, flooding

New flood maps show stark inequity in damages, which are expected to rise over next 30 years

BY: , , and - February 1, 2022

Research using new flood maps shows the high costs of flooding and lay bare the inequities of who has to endure America’s crippling flood problem. They also show the importance of altering development patterns now.