In a major setback for environmental justice activists, the Biden administration will no longer investigate whether Louisiana officials are placing Black residents living in an industrial area of the state at an increased risk of cancer despite evidence of racial discrimination, AP News reports.
The EPA’s efforts have not been without pushback, however. The Washington Post reports that, in recent weeks, Louisiana’s Attorney General Jeff Landry has opposed the EPA, filing a federal lawsuit in which he alleged that the EPA was overstepping its authorities and fighting to block the organization’s investigation. Landry is a Republican candidate currently vying for the title of Louisiana’s next governor. Following years of fighting, Louisiana residents remain unprotected and without justice. In its filing, the EPA claimed that it had taken the necessary measures to protect Louisiana communities and, as a result, will no longer continue its probe into Denka’s practices. The EPA and Justice Department also declined to pursue civil rights enforcement against Louisiana’s Department of Health and Department of Environmental Quality.
The decision has left many local environmental justice activists disheartened. “I feel like we were put on the back burner,” the founder of local activist group Rise St. James Sharon Lavigne, told the Washington Post.
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Source: Black Enterprise