Judge allows ramming of proposed Wallace grain terminal to begin | Surroundings – Low Calorie Diets Tips

Developers of a controversial $400 million grain elevator in Wallace have been allowed to conduct pre-construction work, including piling, on the proposed site, amid objections from opponents who claim the work could disturb slave burials on the former plantation property .

Judge J. Sterling Snowdy of the 40th Judicial District Court in LaPlace on Friday denied an injunction requested by the Descendants Project, a St. John the Baptist nonprofit group, to block work planned by Greenfield Louisiana LLC.

Snowdy is overseeing a Descendants Project lawsuit against the parish of St. John the Baptist challenging a 1990 rezoning of the property for heavy industrial use.

Sisters Jo and Joy Banner, owners of the Fee-Fo-Lay Cafe in Wallace and leaders of the Descendants Project and opposition to the silo facility, argued in court filings that “corrupt rezoning” was involved in the land-use change. The banners linked the project to the conviction of former township president Lester Millet Jr., including for extorting $200,000 from the person who arranged the sale of the property to Formosa Plastics Corp. in 1990. mediated, who wanted to set up an artificial silk factory on the site.

Formosa Plastics abandoned this plan in 1992. In July 2021, Greenfield purchased the west bank site for a facility that will include a loading terminal and 54 silos.

In April, Snowdy dismissed several community challenges to the descendants’ lawsuit. But on June 1, he allowed Greenfield, who had intervened in the Descendants’ lawsuit, to appeal his decisions in the Fifth Circuit State Circuit Court of Appeals. However, he has not granted Greenfield’s request to stay the lawsuit himself pending the appeals court’s decision.

Opponents also argue that grain dust from the new terminal will increase the environmental threat facing mostly black and low-income residents in Wallace, which is already plagued by air pollution from nearby chemical plants.

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“We are disappointed that we were not granted the restraining order,” said Joy Banner. Although Greenfield was scheduled to specifically consult with the Descendants group before construction began, the group only learned of Greenfield’s work after the company sent postcards to some residents warning that piling was about to begin, she said.

Banner said her group asked the Corps to issue its own cease and desist order to Greenfield. The group also wants the Corps to ask Greenfield to rule out the possibility of slave graves being disturbed before work can begin.

Banner also disagreed with the language in motions Greenfield filed in support of their application to have the work done, in which Greenfield accused the Descendants Project of failing to provide evidence that graves were found on the property.

“The fact that we don’t have evidence is a consequence of the system of slavery where burial sites were unmarked,” said Pam Spees, an attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights, which represents the Descendants group. “And we don’t have access to the website. Greenfield has not allowed us access to the website.”

Spees added that the judge’s decision on Friday “highlights history’s painful, outrageous and absurd Catch-22 that the descendants find themselves in – they are doing everything they can to find and protect the graves of their ancestors in these places, while their ancestors live on, owned and controlled by private landowners who can decide their fate.”

But Louis Buatt, an attorney representing Greenfield, praised Snowdy’s decision.

“The court’s decision is a win for the people in the community, who will benefit from the jobs, opportunities, commitment and revenue that Greenfield will bring to the community,” he said. “This was just another procedural attempt by a vocal group to halt a project expected to have immense community benefit.”

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This work is supported by a grant funded by the Walton Family Foundation and administered by the Society of Environmental Journalists.

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