Eugene-Richard. Photo: Goldman Environmental Prize. The Old Diamond neighborhood of Norco, in far southern Louisiana, sits between a Shell Chemicals plant and an oil refinery owned by a Shell joint venture. "We're like the meat in the sandwich," says Margie Eugene-Richard, 62, who grew up just 25 feet from the fenceline of the chemical plant. For decades, the 1,500 residents of this predominantly black neighborhood suffered unusually high rates of cancer, birth defects, and respiratory diseases. They didn't sleep well, either -- they lived in fear of a major industrial accident, like the 1973 pipeline explosion that killed an Old …
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Award-winning journalist and pretty good mom Michelle Nijhuis writes about science and the environment from western Colorado. Follow her on Twitter.