Breaking News from America's Progressive Community...
17, 1998 6:50 PM
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Dwight Mims, Media Officer, Greenpeace USA (202) 319-2436
Damu Smith, Toxics Campaign, Greenpeace (202) 319- 2410 or cellphone (202) 255-9560
Deborah Rephan, Media Officer, Greenpeace (202) 319-2492
|Shintech Inc. Pull-Out Is A Major Civil Rights Victory; Greenpeace Pledges To Oppose Any Expansion|
- September 17 - Shintech's announcement that it will back down on plans to build a vinyl
plant in Convent, Louisiana is a major victory for environmental justice, the people of
Convent and St. James Parish and a blow against the PVC industry, Greenpeace said today.
The battle against Shintech is now shifting to Plaquemine, Louisiana. "We have been very proud to work closely with the people of Convent, Louisiana to send our message of opposition which the vinyl industry has heard loud and clear," said Damu Smith, toxics specialist. "We are now prepared to struggle alongside the citizens of Plaquemine to stop Shintech."
According to news reports, Shintech Inc., which has been blocked in locating in St. James Parish, is planning to build a smaller polyvinyl chloride facility in Plaquemine. The new proposed facility would be located near Dow Chemical Company. Shintech plans to withdraw permit applications for St. James Parish after the Plaquemine site is approved. The company plans to get chlorine and vinyl chloride from Dow. "This is an obvious face-saving move by a player in a dirty industry that is becoming more dead-end and obsolete by the day," Smith stated. "Recent announcements by Nike to phase out PVC and by various European governments to restrict its use are the writing on the wall for this poisonous product. We demand that Shintech cancel its plans to expand its PVC production operations."
The Shintech case has become the most watched and important civil rights case ever involving charges of environmental racism. Greenpeace has been working with residents of the mostly African American town of Convent where Shintech wanted to build the largest proposed polyvinyl chloride factory in the world. The Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Civil Rights has launched an unprecedented investigation into charges of environmental racism and civil rights violations, by local residents and Greenpeace. A decision by the agency is expected late this year. Greenpeace and Tulane Environmental Law Clinic co-authored another complaint with the EPA which included charges that issuing a permit to Shintech would constitute environmental racism and undermine the purpose of the Clean Air Act. "The insidious practice of environmental racism must be reined in by this administration," said Smith.
Throughout its life cycle--manufacture, use and disposal--PVC emits a host of poisonous chemicals including dioxin, one of the most toxic chemicals known to science. Dioxin has been linked with immune suppression problems, reproductive and developmental disorders and is classified as a known human carcinogen by the World Health Organization.
Mrs. Imelda West and Pat Melancon, leaders of St. James Citizens for Jobs and the Environment said, "This fight is far from over. We are being cautious about the details of this announcement and want to make clear that we will work with the people of Plaquemine to stop Shintech."
Greenpeace is the leading independent organization which uses peaceful and creative activism to protect the global environment.
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