EDF Will Oppose Louisiana’s Legal Attacks on EPA’s Vital Clean Air Standards for Toxic Pollution

Statement from Rosalie Winn, EDF Director and Lead Counsel, Methane and Clean Air Policy

July 2, 2024
Lexi Ambrogi, (973) 960-0073, lambrogi@edf.org

(LaPlace, LA – July 2, 2024) Louisiana has filed a petition to review Environmental Protection Agency standards to reduce cancer-causing pollution. Governor Jeff Landry and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality also announced that LDEQ has attempted to grant a request from Denka Performance Elastomer for a two-year waiver to delay compliance with the pollution limits for its synthetic rubber manufacturing facility.

“For far too long, families in St. John the Baptist Parish have been denied their right to breathe clean air. Stronger federal safeguards against toxic air pollution are vital and long overdue, and EPA’s pollution limits will deliver urgently needed protections.

“LDEQ’s attempt to delay Denka’s requirement to comply with these basic modern emissions controls is a failure of the agency’s responsibility to protect the public health of every Louisiana resident. Under EPA’s updated standards, only EPA may waive this compliance deadline. 

“It’s essential that Denka immediately take necessary steps to reduce harm from its cancer-causing pollution. Just last week, the D.C. Circuit rejected Denka’s request to stay its compliance deadline. We look forward to vigorously defending EPA’s safeguards against these new attacks so that communities on the frontlines of this industry can breathe cleaner, safer air.”

  • Rosalie Winn, Director and Lead Counsel, Methane and Clean Air Policy


In April, EPA strengthened standards to limit toxic pollution from petrochemical facilities. The rules are expected to slash more than 6,200 tons of a year of air pollution at about 200 chemical plants, including Denka’s St. John the Baptist facility and 50 other sites in Louisiana, and reduce air toxics-related cancer risks in nearby communities by 96 percent.

Pollution from Denka’s Louisiana plant has been linked to extraordinarily high cancer rates in nearby communities, primarily due to the facility’s chloroprene emissions. Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit declined Denka’s request to delay the 90-day deadline to comply with EPA pollution limits, a deadline forged in statute. This left intact the vital clean air protections at stake for the people of Louisiana that the Governor is now trying to disrupt and delay.   

EDF and Earthjustice, on behalf of its clients—Air Alliance Houston, California Communities Against Toxics, The Concerned Citizens of St. John, Environmental Integrity Project, LEAN, RISE St. James, Sierra Club and T.e.j.a.s.—have intervened in defense of EPA’s standards and had filed a response in opposition to Denka’s motion to stay the rule.

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