TagCancer Alley

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...

Tar sands creating a new “Cancer Alley” in Canada

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I probably don’t need to tell you what concentrating a band of oil refineries, chemical plants, and environmentally challenging industrial facilities can do to a community. Here in Louisiana, we’ve been living with such a place, lining the Mississippi River and the surrounding countryside between New Orleans and Baton Rouge. It used to be called the “petrochemical...

Something stinks at the end of La.’s “Cancer Alley”

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Louisiana is a state of contradiction — earning its official nickname of “Sportsman’s Paradise” with shimmering waters and miles of vibrant swampland, yet often in the shadow of so many strench-emitting oil and chemical plants, more per square mile than anywhere else in the world, that it gains the alternate nickname of “Cancer Alley.” Sadly, it’s not...

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