LA - Facing Deadline to Respond to Criticisms, Corps Asks Court for Time to Rework Formosa Permit
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to temporarily suspend a permit critical for the construction of a $9.4 billion chemical complex proposed in St. James Parish in hopes of addressing criticisms raised by environmental and community groups.
The Corps of Engineers announced its plans on Wednesday afternoon in a court filing from Department of Justice lawyers who asked a federal judge to halt the environmental groups' lawsuit challenging the federal wetlands permit.
The Formosa Plastics facility has drawn fierce public opposition and lawsuits from local and national groups over its extensive air emissions, potential for plastic water pollution. Opponents argue it represents another major polluting facility located next to largely Black and poor communities in the Mississippi River corridor.
They have also raised concerns about the discovery of unmarked graves on the company's nearly 2,400-acre site -- graves advocates say are of enslaved African-Americans.
But the project has been seen as a big economic development win for the state. It is expected to bring 1,200 permanent jobs, thousands more temporary construction jobs and millions of dollars in sales and property tax revenue for local and state governments. Gov. John Bel Edwards and parish government officials in St. James hailed the plant's arrival when it was announced in April 2018.