From Louisiana to Taiwan, Green Activists Stand Up To Plastics Giant

“Formosa Plastics, a Taiwanese plastics company, intends to build a complex St. James Parish, Louisiana, a region already known as “Cancer Alley.” Environmental activist Anne Rolfes faces criminal charges for a protest action she took to call attention to the company's history of harm.”

“From Southeast Asia to the United States, activists have called attention in recent years to the harmful impact of chemical companies such as Formosa Plastics Corporation, a Taiwanese petrochemical company that operates throughout the world, including the US.

Anne Rolfes is one of two Louisiana environmental activists who now face criminal charges for protest actions she took in December to call attention to the dangers of Formosa’s expansion plans in St. James Parish, a region already packed with 140 chemical plants. Their protest — and the repercussions they face — have caught the attention of activists in Taiwan who hope Formosa's plans will be blocked.

“We work with people who live along the region known as ‘Cancer Alley’ where there is an enormous concentration of oil refineries and chemical plants,” said Rolfe, director of the environmental group Bucket Brigade Louisiana. “And we help communities either stop new places from being built or halt expansions or take action to clean up their air quality.”

Over the years, Formosa Plastics has been linked to chemical leaks, toxic dumping, environmental pollution and chronic illnesses experienced by people who live near its factories.”

Kyle Vass reports for PRI's The World July 9, 2020.

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