This Louisiana plant says it might have to close if EPA rules aren’t relaxed

Photo courtesy of Associated Press

A synthetic rubber manufacturer in Louisiana accused of increasing the cancer risk for the nearby majority-Black community told a federal appeals court that it will have to shut down “likely permanently” if it’s forced to meet the Biden administration’s deadline to reduce emissions, reports The Associated Press.

Denka Performance Elastomer on Tuesday blamed a new Environmental Protection Agency rule that targets emissions at more than 200 industrial plants, arguing that other, more dangerous facilities face a two-year deadline to comply while it was singled out with an “illegal and politically motivated” 90-day deadline.

The Denka plant manufactures neoprene, which is used to make wetsuits, automotive belts and other items, and employs roughly 250 people, the company says. It’s roughly a half-mile from an elementary school in Reserve and is within an 85-mile stretch of the state known officially as the Mississippi River Chemical Corridor. Colloquially it is called Cancer Alley.

The company has been at the center of a broader fight over environmental rules and alleged racism—and the Biden administration’s promise to use its enforcement and regulatory power to make life better for residents who live in communities, often poor and majority-minority, that disproportionately bear the brunt of pollution impacts.

“Absent relief from the 90-day implementation period, [Denka] will have no ability to comply with the rule and will be forced to shut the facility, likely permanently,” the company told a Washington, D.C., federal appeals court.

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