LOUISIANA CITIZENS WELCOME THE NEJAC!!
Saturday, December 5, 1998 -- Over 200 Louisiana Environmental Justice Activists Present Testimony to EPA's NEJAC Officials
Two hundred Louisiana citizens, including scores of children and youth, spoke out about the acute environmental crisis in their communities on Saturday, December 5,1998 in Baton Rouge, La. In preparation for the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council, several Louisiana communities sponsored The People's Testimonial on Environmental Racism, Civil Rights Violations, and Injustice in Louisiana where members from NEJAC and EPA officials attended. Citizens from Alsen, White Castle, Romeville, Convent, Plaquemine, New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Lake Charles, Mossville, Amelia, Morgan City and Sulfur gathered at this day-long forum to describe their problems, proposed solutions, and demand action from the EPA to end practices of environmental injustice and human rights abuses in the state.
Sunday, December 6, 1998 -- 300 Citizens Turn Out for Lake Charles Area Toxic Tour
Citizens in southwest Louisiana came out to show EPA Region 6 officials, NEJAC members, and representatives from national organizations the environmental degradation of their communities. The toxic tour was sponsored by the Mossville Environmental Action Network, Mothers of Mossville, Calcasieu League for Environmental Action Now, and the Louisiana Committee for Citizen Participation in the NEJAC. There are approximately 50 industrial facilities in Calcasieu Parish that discharge wastes into the lakes, river, and bayous in the Parish and light the night sky with high flares from smokestacks. The first stop on the tour was the African American community of Mossville in Westlake. Residents turned out in large numbers as children and adults greeted visitors with signs and pictures detailing the excessive pollution and contamination in their area. The gathering took place at the Mossville Community Center, where residents demanded environmental justice and reported on Condea Vista poisoning their private wells with ethylene dichloride. The communities of Vincent Settlement and Fisherville were also visited and residents carried signs showing that high levels of dioxin has been found in the blood of people in the area and presented detailed accounts of chemical spills from rail cars that are stationed within 50 feet of homes. During tour residents demanded that EPA support their efforts to protect the health and safety of their communities because the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality fails to do so.
Communities Help Plan Official NEJAC Fact Finding Tour, But Say Not Enough Time Given to See Louisiana's Environmental Crisis
Citizen groups and environmental organizations have helped to plan the four-hour site tour of Cancer Alley for the NEJAC. Because of time constraints only a segment of Cancer Alley will be seen on the tour. There are nearly 100 miles of river corridor where industrial facilities have located in close proximity to poor, African American rural communities. In addition, there are toxic hot spots in northern, southeast and southwest Louisiana that will not be included on the tour because of the limited time given for the tour. The Louisiana Citizen Committee for Participation in the NEJAC is urging NEJAC members to return to Louisiana. As a state with one of the highest pollution levels in the country, policies that encourage toxic industrial polluters to exploit natural resources, and a notorious DEQ that fails to enforce environmental laws, Louisiana deserves another NEJAC meeting.
For more information, contact Alicia Lyttle (504) 865-5787; Cynthia Mendy (504) 488-3075;
Monique Harden (504) 522-1394