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Sharon Lavigne, is 67-year-old recently retired special-ed teacher born and raised in St. James Parish, LA and a staunch advocate for her community that sits in what’s been dubbed as “Cancer Alley.” When Lavigne was a child she recalls St. James Parish being lush with fruit trees, vegetable gardens and full of families living off the land. “Now the land and everything that grows on it is poison,” says Lavigne
As Earthjustice explained, Lavigne and her neighbors are fighting what many believe to be the largest proposed industrial facility yet — one that represents Big Oil’s toxic survival strategy in a future where dirty energy is finally dead. Lavigne recently founded RISE St. James, a local community organization, to stop the $9.4 billion petrochemical complex proposed by a Taiwanese company, Formosa Petrochemical Corporation, which sadly was awarded permits by Louisiana state regulators earlier this year. Lavigne plans on continuing to organize marches, press conferences, and demonstrations to bring awareness to the poisoning that’s occurring to black and brown communities in Louisiana.
Yellowstone, Grand Teton, and Smoky Mountains National Parks closed on Tuesday due to coronavirus concerns, joining Yosemite National Park, the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island because of concerns of crowding in public spaces leading to spread of the disease.
Why This Matters: As is true with so much of the Trump Administration’s attitude toward containing the spread of the virus, they have left each Park to decide on its own, causing confusion and sending mixed signals to the public and leaving local officials struggling to respond.