On Monday night, activist from the Stop Formosa Plastics Coalition projected slogans including, “#BreakFreeFromPlastic,” “No Community Is Disposable,” “Libérate del Plástico,” “Environmental Justice = No New Plastic” and a skull and crossbones onto the Superdome. They join activist groups in cities across the U.S. including Washington D.C., San Francisco, Houston, Portland, and Pittsburgh who projected similar messages onto local landmarks to welcome the Break Free from Plastic Pollution Act of 2021. Although the original Break Free from Plastic Pollution Act of 2020 died in the previous congress, many are hopeful that the Biden Administration will be supportive of this new bill, considering his commitment to fighting the climate crisis and environmental racism.
Additionally, the pause may be financially beneficial for the state of Louisiana. The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis recently came out with a report calling the Formosa facility “financially unviable.” The report cited a stagnating market, international competition, rising construction costs, and regulatory risk in their reasoning. The rising construction cost, which would increase the proposed budget from $9.4 billion to $12 billion is especially concerning. The facility could be a dead-end for new jobs and profits, even with the promise of substantial tax exemptions. The estimated tax exemptions, which are expected to be grandfathered in for the full, pre-executive order amounts, would equal roughly $1.5 billion dollars over a ten-year period. Considering that these property taxes go toward funding public works like schools and libraries, St. James Parish could be robbed of both their health, promised jobs, and taxes from the facility.