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Meridian Institute

Dow Louisiana and Shintech Facility Siting

Related: Environment and Natural Resources, Health

The Japanese firm Shintech, Inc., ran into major opposition from environmental justice advocates when it sought to build a polyvinyl chloride (PVC) production plant in a rural area of St. James Parish, Louisiana. The population of the surrounding area was predominantly low-income and African-American. Shintech then approached Dow Chemical Company (a key supplier to Shintech), about instead siting the facility next to a Dow plant in Plaquemine, Louisiana, about 35 miles upriver. Dow agreed but suggested that Shintech conduct a public stakeholder involvement effort as part of the siting process.

 

Shintech hired Meridian Institute to design and facilitate the stakeholder involvement effort. Meridian, following a model public involvement process developed by the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council, held multiple public meetings throughout the Plaquemine area to hear citizens’ concerns and ideas.

 

For Shintech, the Meridian-facilitated process ultimately led to permits to build the facility. For the community, the process led to commitments by Shintech to purchase equipment and materials locally, to train and hire locally in proportion to the racial composition of the community, and to alter the design of the plant to reduce traffic, noise, and visual impacts on its neighbors. In addition, Shintech helped to secure a $4.2 million appropriation from the state legislature to build a road the community had wanted for more than a decade.


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