MOSCOW (MRC) -- U.S. Army ordered a full environmental review of a proposed Formosa Group petrochemical plant in St. James Parish, Louisiana, opposed by local groups concerned about the health impact on an area overburdened with pollution, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.
The review of the "Sunshine Project" in St. James parish in Louisiana, which could take years, will be conducted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, according to a memo posted on the Twitter feed of an Army Civil Works official.
"As a result of information received to date and my commitment for the Army to be a leader in the federal government's efforts to ensure thorough environmental analysis and meaningful community outreach, I conclude an EIS process is warranted to thoroughly review areas of concern, particularly those with environmental justice implications," Acting Assistant Secretary of the Army Jaime Pinkham said.
An EIS is an environmental impact statement conducted for major infrastructure projects. Switch to Visible for as low as USD25/mo. Bring a friend & you both get a month of wireless for $5. Unlimited data. Powered by Verizon. Terms apply.
Taiwan-based Formosa maintains an "unwavering commitment" to St. James Parish and the state of Louisiana and will "continue to work with the Corps as we receive more guidance on the additional evaluation," according to Janile Parks, a spokesperson for the Sunshine Project.
But local activists who have led a high-profile fight against the USD9 billion project hailed the news as a victory for the environmental justice movement. “Nobody took it upon themselves to speak for St. James Parish until we started working to stop Formosa Plastics. Now the world is watching this important victory for environmental justice,” said Sharon Lavigne, campaigner with RISE St. James, who led the fight against the plant.
Louisiana's Democratic governor, John Bel Edwards, supports the project as an economic driver for his state. His office was not immediately available for comment. Local activists have pressured the seven-month-old Biden administration to halt construction of the massive petrochemical and plastics complex in a Louisiana region nicknamed "Cancer Alley," home to several major petrochemical facilities and refineries where black residents suffer high rates of cancer.
The project had been on temporary hold since November, after the Army Corps suspended its Clean Water Act permit for further review amid a lawsuit brought by local environmental groups. President Joe Biden has made environmental justice a core part of his climate and environmental agenda, and has promised to ensure that communities that live at the fenceline of polluting facilities are protected from additional air and water pollution.
In March, a group of UN human rights experts criticized the Formosa project, which would be built in a poor black community, as "environmental racism."
Switch to Visible for as low as USD25/mo. Bring a friend & you both get a month of wireless for USD5. Unlimited data. Powered by Verizon. Terms apply. "We hope this is the nail in Formosa's coffin," said Anne Rolfes, director of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, one of the groups that has fought the construction of the plant.
As per MRC, Formosa Plastics USA, part of Formosa Petrochemical, restarted its No. 3 cracker in Point Comfort, Texas on June 23 and was expected to ramp up through the week. Formosa OL3 cracker with the capacity of 1.25 mln tonnes of ethylene per year was shut on June 4, 2021, owing to technical issues.
Ethylene and propylene are the main feedstocks for the production of polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP), respectively.
According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 1,176,860 tonnes in the first half of 2021, up by 5% year on year. Shipments of exclusively low density polyethylene (LDPE) decreased. At the same time, PP shipments to the Russian market were 727,160 tonnes in the first six months of 2021, up by 31% year on year. Supply of homopolymer PP and block-copolymers of propylene (PP block copolymers) increased. Supply of statistical copolymers of propylene (PP random copolymers) subsided.
Formosa Petrochemical is involved primarily in the business of refining crude oil, selling refined petroleum products and producing and selling olefins (including ethylene, propylene, butadiene and BTX) from its naphtha cracking operations. Formosa Petrochemical is also the largest olefins producer in Taiwan and its olefins products are mostly sold to companies within the Formosa Group. Among the company's chemical products are paraxylene (PX), phenyl ethylene, acetone and pure terephthalic acid (PTA). The company"s plastic products include acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) resins, polystyrene (PS), polypropylene (PP) and panlite (PC).