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Articles by Lisa Song

Lisa Song is a reporter for ProPublica covering the environment, energy, and climate change.

Featured Article

EPA Administrator Michael Regan stands near the Marathon Petroleum Refinery while touring neighborhoods in Louisiana's "Cancer Alley."

This story was reported in collaboration with ProPublica.

Louisiana must examine how polluters imperil the health of Black residents, the Environmental Protection Agency said in a letter it sent last week to state regulators in response to civil rights complaints about air pollution in the region known as Cancer Alley. 

Black residents in southeastern Louisiana bear a disproportionate cancer risk from industrial air pollution, the agency found, with children at one predominantly Black elementary school having been exposed to a dangerous carcinogen at levels 11 times what the EPA considers acceptable.

ProPublica reported last year that the EPA does a poor job of regulating the combined risk from multiple sources of industrial air pollution. In parts of Cancer Alley, ProPublica estimated lifetime cancer risk is up to 47 times what the EPA deems acceptable. 

The EPA letter urged Louisiana’s environmental and health agencies to analyze cumulative impacts for residents near a synthetic rubber plant owned by Denka Performance Elastomer in St. John the Baptist Parish and a proposed Formosa plastics facility in St. James Parish.

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