Geismar

Geismar is an unincorporated community located in Ascension parish with a predominantly African-American population. The area is representative of many Louisiana communities’ evolution from agricultural plantations to industrial plants. It is now surrounded by over 20 industrial facilities including Borden Chemical, BASF, PCS Nitrogen, and Shell Chemical. This large network of petrochemical and oil industries in such close proximity to each other means that residents and plant workers are surrounded by fumes and potential emissions (People 1991).

Because of the close proximity to so many petrochemical and industrial plants, the area is consistently affected by leaks, spills, explosions, fires, and other safety hazards. In the early 1980’s, BASF workers in the Oil Chemical and Atomic Workers Union (OCAW) at the Geismar plant were locked out by management after negotiations went sour. The lockout lasted five and a half years (Washington Post 1989). During the lockout, workers turned to local residents and environmental activists for support, and were able to speak about the toxic chemicals being pumped into the air and groundwater without residents' knowledge (People 1991).

Geismar resident Amos Favorite, an early leader in the environmental justice movement, became the first president of Ascension Parish Residents Against Toxic Pollution, a group that was committed to challenging LDEQ and the petrochemical industry. Under Favorite’s leadership, the group had many successes (People 1991). One of Favorite’s children, Malaika Favorite, is currently a board member of Louisiana Environmental Action Network.


Despite improved regulation, accidents are still all too common. Rubicon LLC reported 25 accidental releases between 2010 and 2019 that affected over 130 plant workers (Nola 2021). In 2021, Malaika Favorite spoke to ProPublica about the increased cancer risk of residents in Geismar from the ethylene oxide emitted from the BASF plant (ProPublica 2021). Between 2018 and 2021, the Honeywell Geismar Plant experienced 11 accidental releases of dangerous chemicals (The Advocate 2021). Many Geismar residents continue to be concerned about the myriad of emission sources within their community and their potential impacts on their health and quality of life.

News Story

EPA settles with PCS Nitrogen Fertilizer on hazardous wastewater violations

7/15/2022
Photo Gallery

Test Gallery

4/26/2022
News Story

Before death from Honeywell chemical release, Geismar plant had small leaks, breakdowns, DEQ says

10/29/2021
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A look at the 25 accidental releases over 10 years that potentially exposed 130 workers

1/3/2021
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What's In Your Water by Consumer Reports

What's In Your Water by Consumer Reports

11/2/2020
Report

Private Water Well Testing in Louisiana

10/12/2020
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Displaced Communities in Louisiana's Industrial Corridor

5/15/2020
Infographic

Top 5 Emitters in Ascension Parish

5/15/2020
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Poverty in Reserve

12/10/2019
Data Table

Treatment Methods and cost

11/15/2019
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La.'s industrial corridor is already polluted, and more plants are on the way

10/31/2019
articles
Test Article

Test Article

9/29/2019
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Ol' Man River or Cancer Alley?

9/28/2019
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Toxics march organizers slate environmental fair

11/8/1998
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Some firms clean up their acts

4/25/1991
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His Family Ravaged by Cancer, An Angry Louisiana Man Wages War on the Very Air That He Breathes

3/25/1991
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His Family Ravaged by Cancer, An Angry Louisiana Man Wages War on the Very Air that He Breathes

3/25/1991
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The Wasteland; Abandoned toxic dumps brimming with hazards

3/24/1991
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Keeping water safe is elusive goal

2/19/1991
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Safety not always a shield for workers

2/18/1991
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Troubled plant neighbors would like to breathe easier

2/18/1991
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The chemical industry's toxic toll

2/17/1991
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Beating BASF: OCAW Busts Union-Buster

8/1/1990
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Labor Dispute in Lousiana Ends with Ecological Gain

1/30/1990
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LOCKED OUT! The Story of BASF's Attack on Workers, the Community, and the Environment

2/1/1989