TagCancer Alley

A small Louisiana town is fighting pollution — and winning

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I’ve written a lot over the last decade about Louisiana’s “Cancer Alley,” the stretch along the Mississippi River from Baton Rouge down past New Orleans that’s practically wall-to-wall with the bright red flares and shiny steel tangled guts of chemical plants and oil refineries that exploit the rich natural resources of my native state. The non-stop pollution of the air and water that led to the...

In Louisiana’s ‘Cancer Alley,’ inaction makes a sick town even sicker

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Louisiana’s “Cancer Alley” is America’s worst-kept secret. I know this because I’ve been writing about the state’s perilous and often unsightly stretch of chemical plants, oil refineries and other industrial plants ever since I started this blog nearly a decade ago, aiming to call attention to a major public health hazard in our midst. My native state has one of the nation’s highest rates of...

Christmas comes early for La. pollution fighters

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A few months ago, I told you about the latest public health crisis in Louisiana’s “Cancer Alley” — the strip of heavily polluting refineries, chemical plants and other industrial facilities that line the banks of the Mississippi River from Baton Rouge all the way down past New Orleans. Many of the most threatened community are predominantly poor and predominantly black...

Meet the small La. town with America’s highest cancer risk

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I’ve written on this site about problems in what the locals in Louisiana call “Cancer Alley” — the massive petrochemical facilities that mostly line the Mississippi River between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. For decades, this industrialized corridor has reflected the push and the pull between Louisiana’s desperate need for well-paying blue-collar jobs and...

Louisiana’s Green Army declares war on polluters

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For time to time, I’ve kept readers here up to date on Gen. Russel Honore — the retired military leader who provided strong, much-needed leadership in Louisiana’s dark days after Hurricane Katrina — and his environmental group, the Green Army. At one time, there was a lot of speculation that Honore’s “army” would prove to be his foot soldiers in the...

‘Cancer Alley’ is about to get 30 percent worse, if that’s possible

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Too many times in the past, I’ve taken to this blog to write about the latest pollution outrage in the stretch of Louisiana nicknamed “Cancer Alley.” If you’ve been to my native state or even flown over Louisiana bayou country, you’ve certainly seen it: Large refineries or petrochemical processing plants,  shiny, smoke-shrouded jumbles of steel pipes and massive...

Louisiana still one bad storm away from environmental disasters

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One consequence of the recent 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina was a chance to reflect just how lucky New Orleans and the surrounding parishes have been recently — at least when it comes to weather. Of course, no major hurricane has struck Louisiana in a while, and so far 2015 has been largely free of severe tropical weather. On the other hand, that may also provide a false sense of...

How poverty and dirty oil refineries are closely linked

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For a long time, I’ve been writing about Louisiana’s so-called “Cancer Alley,” the seemingly endless line of oil refineries and chemical plants which — exploiting the state’s rich natural resources — line the Mississippi River banks from Baton Rouge all the way past New Orleans, towards the Gulf of Mexico. For decades, locals tended to view these...

Dumping on Louisiana’s poorest communities

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It’s something of a mixed blessing working as an environmental attorney in Louisiana. On one hand, the power and prevalence of the state’s oil refineries, offshore drilling and chemical plants means that there’s no shortage of environmental cases to handle. On the other hand, it’s been simply heartbreaking to watch what the rise of locals call “Cancer Alley”...

Louisiana’s ‘Cancer Alley’ is getting more toxic

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In a perfect world, humankind would be winning the war against toxic air pollution. After all, it’s been almost 44 years since the first Earth Day and the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. That was supposed to mark the end of an era when smokestacks belching toxins into the American sky was considered a sign of economic health and not an indicator of cancer and other...

Stuart H. Smith is an attorney based in New Orleans fighting major oil companies and other polluters.
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