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Articles by Lylla Younes

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The Denka, formerly DuPont, factory in Reserve, Louisiana, on August 12, 2021.

It’s rare for the Environmental Protection Agency to try to force a chemical plant to immediately reduce or halt its toxic airborne emissions. Such actions typically occur in extreme circumstances when a facility presents an acute risk of bodily injury to the public — for example when an explosion is imminent.

But this week, the Department of Justice filed a legal motion on the EPA’s behalf, asking a judge to order a Louisiana plant to substantially decrease releases of a cancer-causing chemical it’s been emitting for half a century. The motion for preliminary injunction, as the legal request is known, is still awaiting the district court judge’s ruling.

Denka Performance Elastomer, a synthetic rubber manufacturing plant owned by a Japanese company of the same name, sits on a bank of the lower Mississippi River in southeast Louisiana’s industrial corridor, a region commonly known as “Cancer Alley.” Originally built by Dupont, which still owns the land beneath the plant and a separate operation on the same site, Denka releases thousands of pounds of the toxic... Read more

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