FPG to review Louisiana investment project amid opposition by residents – Focus Taiwan News Channel

Taipei, Aug. 19 (CNA) Formosa Plastics Group (FPG) will reevaluate an investment project in the American state of Louisiana, as residents there have again raised objections to the construction of the petrochemical plant, one of the company’s managers told CNA Thursday.
In principle, FPG is unlikely to halt the US$9.4 billion project but will cautiously reexamine its investment plan, based on the market situation, said the manager, who asked not to be named.
Early last year, Louisiana authorities approved the environment impact assessment for FPG’s “Sunshine Project” in St. James parish in Louisiana, but the U.S. Army has now ordered a full environmental review of the proposed petrochemical plant.
The FPG manager said the company is expected to reevaluate the investment project and will finalize its assessment by the end of the year, taking into consideration rising costs and market volatility since the COVID-19 pandemic started in early 2020.
The project is expected to provide 1,200 permanent jobs and up to 8,000 construction jobs, according to the Louisiana state government.
On Wednesday, however, the U.S. Army ordered its Corps of Engineers to conduct an environmental impact statement (EIS) for the planned FPG project in Louisiana.
The review was ordered after Jaime Pinkham, the Army’s acting assistant secretary for civil works, held a virtual meeting with activists in Louisiana who have been opposed to the project on environmental and other grounds, according to international news reports.
“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,” Pinkham was quoted by Reuters as saying.
The Army Corps had issued a permit in September 2019 to allow FG LA — the company set up by FPG to handle the Louisiana project — to dredge and fill wetlands and create detention ponds in wetlands, according to a lawsuit filed by opponents to the plan.
It said the site includes more than 364 hectares of wetlands, 25 hectares of which would be permanently affected, along with 20 hectares of other waters, international reports said.
Major construction on the project has been suspended since November 2020, when the Army Corps agreed to reconsider its permit for the plant in a Louisiana region nicknamed “Cancer Alley,” home to several major petrochemical facilities and refineries where black residents suffer high rates of cancer, the reports said.
In an emailed statement, FGLA said “the company will continue to work with the Corps as we receive more guidance on the additional evaluation and has no further comment at this time.”
In July 2020, opponents of the FPG project lodged a request, asking a federal judge to stop work at the site in Louisiana, citing environmental and safety concerns. Planned construction would irreparably harm the community and environment by destroying wetlands, increasing chances of off-site flooding, and desecrating “grave sites of enslaved persons, which bear witness to both our country’s shameful past and the faith, resilience, and perseverance of the present-day St. James community,” the 55-page request said.
The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that nearly 97 percent of the 880 residents in the area are black, according to international reports.
(By Flor Wang and P.M. Tsai)
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