Last month, a judge in East Baton Rouge Parish made a disturbing ruling that seems to allow the Department of Environmental Quality(DEQ) to deregulate every hazardous waste facility in the state without any oversight by the courts, starting right here in Port Allen.
In January, DEQ sidestepped hundreds of people’s protests and issued a new kind of variance to the Georgia company called Thermaldyne. This new variance authorizes Thermaldyne to locate a hazardous waste incinerator in Port Allen and exempts it from hazardous waste regulations.
When the Louisiana Environmental Action Network(LEAN) sued, DEQ said that its decision to give the variance was unreviewable by any court, because the variance was not a permit. Incredibly, the court agreed with DEQ. If this stands, DEQ can exempt every hazardous waste facility in the state from regulation, for any reason or no reason at all.
According to this ruling, no one can challenge that, no matter how bad DEQ’s decision or how dangerous. As a Port Allen resident, this is unacceptable. We can not allow the protection of our community and our voice to be taken from us. We are organizing another meeting Monday, June 24 beginning at 6 p.m. at the WBR Community Center, please join us.
Our citizens are already plagued with too much hazardous waste entering our air, water, and land. Our pleas for protection have again been ignored. Citizens from Port Allen and surrounding neighborhoods have pointed out that too many of our family, neighbors, coworkers and the public at large have been drastically affected by cancer. This invokes fear in the heart of anyone who has lost a loved one due to this fatal disease. Living in an area called “cancer alley,” we are tired of our local public officials, state officials, companies like Thermaldyne and now the courts, continually disregarding our concerns.
What good is it we ask in having a Government Agency, DEQ, supposedly regulating permits, yet al-ways siding with the plants and not those most affected by the pollution from those plants.
Please join us on Monday, June 24, 6 p.m. at the WBR Community Center to discuss this critical situation as we continue to protect our homes and our future. Our health and the health of our children depend on it!
Sincerely I Remain,
Resident of Port Allen.