By Antwan Harris
CHALMETTE, La. — Three of St Bernard Parish’s largest companies are also contributing to one its largest problems; greenhouse gases.
The State Department of Environmental Quality says the Chalmette Refinery, Valero Plant, and Rain Cll plant are pumping sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere above the state air quality levels for its short term readings.
“DEQ is actively working with the industry in St. Bernard to reduce the ozone and we are making a lot of progress there,” Bryan Johnston, a senior environmental scientist with DEQ said.
Monique Verdin lives in St. Bernard Parish, and recently traveled to Paris for the World Climate Summit.
She believes the parish will only do so much to fix the issue.
“Because we are so tied to oil and gas as a community and we depend on jobs, that often silences us from being able to speak out,” Verdin said.
Louisiana is ranked 8th in the nation for the amount of greenhouse gas emissions. Roughly 3.5 percent of the nation’s greenhouse gasses come from the state.
A new report by the Environmental Integrity Project states 20 new petrochemical projects were proposed in 2015, which could equal about 68 million tons of carbon dioxide.
The reported also stated the addition of new refineries will cause the state to jump 30% in emissions.
Ann Rolfes with the Louisiana Bucket Brigade said this is alarming.
“The reason all these companies come here is because we have these huge giveaways to big companies who already make a lot of money and on the other side we allow them to pollute at their discretion,” Rolfes said.
“At what point do we wake up and realize we are just giving away our state?,” she added.