Skip to main content

Big Oil deflecting accountability in communities of color

April 27, 2021

The Energy Mix:

The NAACP is warning its regional chapters not to fall for fossil industry manipulation by outlining the key tactics through which Big Oil advances its own interests in U.S. communities of colour.

The infamously polluted St. James Parish in Louisiana stands as a case study of the real-world impact of coordinated efforts at the community level. The Washington Post reports that residents of this majority Black community—already host to multiple toxic industries that now line the banks of the Mississippi—“feared they had no prayer of stopping a $9.4-billion plastics complex that the Formosa Plastics Group proposed in the district on strips of flat sugar cane fields.” With so much cheap and readily available natural gas in the area, it seemed—at least in the Trump era—that the so-called Sunshine Project was unstoppable. 

But in light of the global glut of plastics, it’s easy to pour cold water on that kind of hopeful projection, said Tom Sanzillo of the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. “The case to us is clear that there is no market need for this plant, the state can do without it, and, to a good segment of the population living there, the project is a horrible burden, the poster child for environmental racism,” he said. “The president recently highlighted Cancer Alley as a real problem, and this is an opportunity to do something about it.” 

[Staff Report]

More: Don’t Fall For Fossil Industry Spin, NAACP Warns U.S. Communities Of Colour

Join our newsletter

Keep up to date with all the latest from IEEFA