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Republican state sues Biden admin over environmental justice actions: 'Dystopian nightmare'

FIRST ON FOX: Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry sued the Biden administration over so-called environmental justice actions targeting his state’s petrochemical industry in a federal lawsuit late Wednesday.

The federal lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, challenges the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) opposition to state permits granted in 2020 to the Denka Performance Elastomer plant and the FG LA Formosa facility, two petrochemical facilities located in St. John Parish, Louisiana. The EPA has argued the permitting process violated federal anti-racial discrimination statute.

“Activities that would be perfectly lawful under environmental law are thus now threatened because EPA believes those activities occur proximate to the ‘wrong’ racial groups,” the lawsuit states. “EPA does not bother to deny that it would be unconcerned if the exact same emissions occurred in areas with differing racial demographics.” 

“But EPA has nonetheless arrogated to itself the authority to decide whether otherwise-lawful emissions are affecting the ‘right’ racial groups,” it continues. “Put succinctly, EPA frequently does not care about the content of air and water emissions, but only the color of the skin of those proximate to them. That dystopian nightmare violates the Civil Rights Act.”

However, the lawsuit Thursday criticized the investigation for not including the state while mainly relying on information from environmental opponents of the petrochemical industry and two articles.


“EPA’s investigation underlying that letter was a perfunctory pretext that, upon information and belief, consisted of extensive communications with the complainants, review of an “environmental justice” law review article and an article in The Atlantic magazine, but little else beyond a cursory review of LDEQ’s and LDH’s websites,” the lawsuit states.

And the lawsuit further criticized the EPA for losing sight of its “actual environmental mission, and instead decided to moonlight as a social justice warriors fixated on race.” 

“To that end, EPA officials declare compliance with environmental law and actual environmental standards is not enough: to avoid loss of federal funds, States must also satisfy EPA’s increasingly warped vision of ‘environmental justice’ and ‘equity.'”


BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA - OCTOBER 12: Smoke billows from one of many chemical plants in the area October 12, 2013. 'Cancer Alley' is one of the most polluted areas of the United States and lies along the once pristine Mississippi River that stretches some 80 miles from New Orleans to Baton Rouge, where a dense concentration of oil refineries, petrochemical plants, and other chemical industries reside alongside suburban homes. (Photo by Giles Clarke/Getty Images.)

Smoke billows from one of many chemical plants in southern Louisiana. (Giles Clarke/Getty Images)

And the Formosa plant is a $9.4 billion complex currently being constructed that its developer projects would create thousands of jobs and pay employees an average of $84,500 per year. The facility would produce polyethylene, polypropylene, polymer and ethylene glycol which are chemicals found in cars, ropes, pipes, artifical turf, playground equipment and antifreeze.

However, the petrochemical industry has long been target of environmentalists who argue it is responsible for harmful emissions and pollution negatively impacting surrounding communities’ health.

“For generations, our most vulnerable communities have unjustly borne the burden of breathing unsafe, polluted air,” EPA Administrator Michael Regan said last month in St. John the Baptist Parish, Louisiana, upon announcing a slate of new regulations targeting the petrochemical industry. 

“We allege that Denka’s emissions have led to unsafe concentrations of carcinogenic chloroprene near homes and schools in St. John the Baptist Parish, Louisiana,” Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta said at the time. 

“The Justice Department’s environmental justice efforts require ensuring that every community, no matter its demographics, can breathe clean air and drink clean water. Our suit aims to stop Denka’s dangerous pollution.”

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