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Robert Taylor II, left, leader of an activist group called Concerned Citizens of St. John, sits at a table with Mary Hampton, center, and others as they talk about some of the chemicals they fear are being dumped in the area during a meeting at Tchoupitoulas Chapel on Thursday, February 7, 2019.

Concerned residents of the area along the Mississippi River between New Orleans and Baton Rouge — dubbed by some as "Cancer Alley" or "Death Alley" due to its proximity to more than 100 petrochemical plants and refineries — are leading a weekslong march by bus and foot demanding no new petrochemical projects be built in the River Parishes. 

Local environmental justice activists are planning the "March Against Death Alley" to span from New Orleans to Baton Rouge with events from Tuesday, Oct. 15 to Wednesday, Oct. 30. 

An opening rally will take place Tuesday at The Church at New Orleans at 6 p.m. with events around the city through Friday.

On Wednesday, there will be a noon rally at the Entergy building on Poydras St. and a 3 p.m. rally at Gordon Plaza. Organizers say they plan to visit with Mayor LaToya Cantrell Thursday morning.

Beginning Saturday, the march then will go from Reserve, St. James, Donaldsonville, Ascension, Georgetown, Port Allen, Scotlandville and finally Baton Rouge on Wednesday, Oct. 30, where marchers will call for meetings with state officials. 

One of the projects marchers will rally against is a $9.4 billion plastics plant in St. James Parish by Formosa Petrochemical Corp., which could nearly double the area's current emission levels of toxic chemicals.

Other demands from organizers include a ban on industrial emissions within 5 miles of public spaces, health care coverage for residents exposed to pollution and an end to the industrial tax exemption program, which offers companies large tax breaks to attract them to Louisiana.

They also call for the Denka Performance Elastomer plant to curb its productions to stay under the levels recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The plant produces chloroprene, which the EPA classifies as a carcinogen.

Gov. John Bel Edwards’ administration announced in August that it would  conduct a study to determine if people living around the Denka plant had higher rates of cancer.

The Coalition Against Death Alley, Rise St. James, Concerned Citizens of St. John, Louisiana Bucket Brigade, Justice and Beyond and 350 New Orleans will participate. 

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