By Claire Schaeffer-Duffy
National Catholic Reporter
October 30, 2020
Black Catholic woman leads battle against giant plastics plant in Louisiana
WELCOME, LOUISIANA — Last May, on the day she turned 69, Sharon Lavigne and three Protestant pastors hiked the levee beside the Mississippi River and looked across the highway at the lush sugarcane fields and wetlands where Taiwan-based Formosa Plastics Group planned to build one of the largest plastics factories in the world.
The 2,400-acre, 14-plant complex would worsen the area's existing pollution overload, spewing cancer-causing chemicals into the air. Opponents say its environmental permits would allow it to emit greenhouse gases equivalent to the output of three and a half coal-fired power plants.
The complex would also disturb or destroy graves of enslaved Black people who were buried on the property, which was once a plantation.