TagLouisiana

‘We live in constant fear’: New map shows staggering risks of La.’s ‘Cancer Alley’

There was a time not that long ago — back when Sharon Lavigne was still back in high school in the community of St. James, Louisiana, long before she became a grandmother of 12 — when the people of her tiny Mississippi River town were happier and healthier. It was before “Cancer Alley” became “Cancer Alley.” It was during her teenage years that the first petrochemical plant opened up...

How other states are fighting not to be like Louisiana and its ‘Cancer Alley’

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When you live embedded within a toxic infrastructure like Louisiana’s “Cancer Alley,” a long stretch of the Mississippi River that’s lined with petrochemical plants and infused with some of the worst air and water pollution in the United States, every day can be a struggle.’ It must feel that way for people like Lydia Gerard and Robert Taylor who come from the tiny town of Reserve, La., which...

A much-needed first step toward saving Louisiana’s wetlands

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My native state of Louisiana seems to lead the nation in environmental disasters – both the unseen, slow-motion variety (like the state’s notorious “Cancer Alley,” where low-income residents drink and breathe the toxins from a miles-long wall of petrochemical plants) and the more dramatic kind like 2010’s BP Deepwater Horizon explosion, which caused the worst offshore oil spill in American...

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...

Louisiana’s wetlands do not need this

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The big, potentially positive story in Louisiana environmental circles has been the push to restore the state’s depleted wetlands. It had become increasingly clear that something had gone terribly wrong in the Bayou State, where the swamps define a way of life — and also perform a very important role. These reedy marshes — as regular readers know well by now — are...

A pro-Trump Louisiana town ditches fossil fuels

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The main topic on this blog in the last few years has been the danger posed by society’s addiction to fossil fuels — an addiction we continue to feed with more and more offshore drilling in the Gulf and elsewhere, with fracking that pollutes our environment and causes earthquakes, and with pipelines that leak and taint our sources of pure drinking water. But in politics they have a...

Louisiana can’t afford to do nothing about its shrinking wetlands

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Restoring wetlands is certainly an expensive proposition. Even with monies available from sources such as the massive settlement that BP reached with Louisiana, the federal government and other Gulf states over the Deepwater Horizon spill, officials struggle to come up with all the funds needed to replenish coastline and bring back to life marshes and bayous that have been destroyed by energy...

Good news and bad news in the quest for safe tap water

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Late last year, I told you about the dire situation in the small, mostly black and underprivileged Louisiana community of St. Joseph. For years, residents had complained about the brackish and discolored water that flowed from their tap. But a largely unresponsive City Hall ignored those complaints, as did mostly unaware state and federal regulators. When the city water was finally tested in...

Here’s more bad news for Louisiana seafood

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One of the first stories that I’ve covered since the very beginning of this blog is the threat to Louisiana seafood. It’s certainly an issue that I can relate to, as a New Orleans native who grew up eating the rich harvest from the nearby Gulf of Mexico. And needless to say, it was particularly heartbreaking in the early days to have to report in the early days of the BP Deepwater...

How Louisiana missed a large oil spill

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One issue that’s come up repeatedly since I launched this website seven years ago has been the multiple failings of Louisiana’s state environmental regulators, especially when it comes to reining in the state’s powerful oil and natural gas interests. For decades, under both Republican and Democratic governors, the regulatory agencies in Baton Rouge haven’t been up to snuff...

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