A Louisiana court threw out key air quality permits for the massive, proposed Formosa Plastics facility in Lousisiana’s “Cancer Alley,” in a major victory for the community activists who have fought for years against the plant. The ruling comes just days after the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality rejected a permit for a separate petrochemical plant in the area. The Formosa plant would have pumped 13.6 million tons of greenhouse gas pollution — about the equivalent of three-and-a-half coal plants — into the atmosphere each year.

“Stopping Formosa Plastics has been a fight for our lives, and today David has toppled Goliath,” said Sharon Lavigne, who founded the group Rise St. James in 2018 to fight plans for the plant. “The judge’s decision sends a message to polluters like Formosa that communities of color have a right to clean air, and we must not be sacrifice zones.”

LDEQ failed to properly review the full impact of the proposed facility, District Judge Trudy White ruled. “The blood, sweat and tears of [the advocates’] Ancestors is tied to the land,” she wrote, referring to the land once worked by enslaved people on plantations, emphasizing the agency “must take special care to consider the impact of climate-driven disasters fueled by greenhouse gases on environmental justice communities and their ability to recover” (emphasis original, page 31). (AP, Washington Post $, NOLA.com, WWNO, The Grio, E&E $, Environmental Health News, Reuters, New York Times $, NOLA.com)