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US Requires Full Environmental Impact Statement on Formosa Plastics Project
August 18, 2021

The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) said on Wednesday it will require a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the $9.4 billion Formosa Plastics petrochemical complex being planned in St. James Parish, Louisiana.

The decision follows a lawsuit to block the project and the Army Corps to suspend its permit in back in 2020.

Formosa previously received permits needed to begin construction of the project. In September 2019, the USACE New Orleans District issued a standard Department of Army (DA) permit for the proposed project pursuant to Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 and Section 404 of the Clean Water Act.

The DA permit was challenged and during court proceedings, the District informed the court in November 2020 that it would suspend the permit and re-analyze its alternatives. The DA permit remains suspended while the District is gathering and reviewing supplemental information.

Acting Assistant Secretary of the Army Jamie Pinkham said as a result of information received to date, he concluded an EIS process is warranted to thoroughly review areas of concern, particularly those with environmental justice implications. Pinkham added the EIS process will provide opportunities for voices to be heard in an open, transparent, and public way.

First announced in 2018, the project is planned in two phases.

Phase One of the St. James project would consist of one Ethylene plant, associated Polymer plants, Ethylene Glycol plant, one Propylene plant and associated Polymer plant

Phase Two would consist of an additional Ethylene plant, associated Polymer plants and Ethylene Glycol plant.

The project involves the construction of chemical complexes, ship and barge docks, intake and discharge lines, rail connection, power generation, pipelines, power lines, and a wastewater treatment plant and affects approximately 62 acres of jurisdictional wetlands and 56 acres of other jurisdictional waters.

By Brian Balboa for The Plastics Exchange.

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