Gulf of Mexico
via Wikimedia Commons

LA - Judge dismisses lawsuit over permit for $9.4 billion plastics plant in St. James Parish

A federal judge in Washington, D.C., has thrown out a lawsuit challenging the wetlands permit for the $9.4 billion Formosa Plastics complex proposed in St. James Parish.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers continues to reevaluate its now-suspended authorization to fill in lowlands on the chemical manufacturer's Mississippi River site. A Formosa affiliate behind the project remains barred from starting significant construction activities while the permit remains under review, though work on a water line and road widening on La. 3127 can continue.

Still, the new ruling means opponents of the project would have to start over with a new lawsuit should the Corps of Engineers issue a new permit.

The Formosa project, about 20 miles northwest of Thibodaux, would be one of largest plastics facilities in the world. It has received backing from Gov. John Bel Edwards and a number of local officials. It promises to bring in millions in new tax revenue, 1,200 permanent jobs and thousands more temporary construction jobs.

But the project has prompted a determined fight from local and national community and environmental groups over the potential pollution impact on minority communities, the lucrative tax breaks for facility and its proximity to historic, potentially pre-Civil War graves of enslaved Black people.

Read more.