February 6, 2024

Celebration on the Gulf Coast: Gas Exports Paused Protecting Natural Habitats in Louisiana

Urgent Action Fund for Feminist Activism

Urgent Action Fund for Feminist Activism

On January 26, 2024, the Biden administration announced a temporary pause on pending decisions of Liquefied Natural Gas exports – with the exception of unanticipated and immediate national security emergencies. This is a huge step forward for environmental justice activists – including our grantees – who have been working to protect natural habitats on the Gulf Coast. 

For the last three years, the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, a grantee, has been working to prevent gas export terminals from destroying the Gulf Coast. The gas export industry has the potential to all but eradicate fishing on the Gulf Coast, not only putting fisherman out of work, but causing pollution of the soil, air and water from toxic flares and methane emissions. This recent pause on federal approvals for the terminals is not a permanent victory, but a huge step in the right direction to protect both people and the planet. 

The Louisiana Bucket Brigade is an organization led by feminist activists that has been active in the environmental justice movement in Louisiana for over 20 years. They have been involved in raising awareness and holding direct actions around numerous environmental and climate justice issues in Louisiana including the BP oil spill disaster, Louisiana’s coastal land loss crisis, post-Katrina environmental justice issues, the Bayou Bridge Pipeline, and the Shell, Exxon, and Formosa plastic plant. 

The work of the organization has sometimes put activists at risk. In July 2020, Urgent Action Fund for Feminist Activism made a grant to the Louisiana Bucket Brigade to help them post bail and pay legal fees for two environmental justice activists who had been arrested for their work challenging Formosa Plastics. These charges were part of an escalating series of attacks by the plastic plant industry, an industry that was polluting the air of communities along the Cancer Alley in Louisiana. 

Thanks to the grant from Urgent Action Fund the organization was able to post bail, freeing the activists from jail, and paid for their legal fees, protecting them from further attacks at the hands of Formosa Plastics. 

Also, as a result of the awareness raising work Louisiana Bucket Brigade conducted about the harmful environmental impacts the plastic plant would cause, the Army Corps of Engineers suspended Formosa permits and a circuit court judge demanded that the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality withdraw the project’s air permits in November 2020 – a huge victory. 

The staff of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade has also served as advisors to Urgent Action Fund, connecting us to other frontline groups and activists in the Gulf working on environmental justice issues. Some of these groups include The Louisiana Just Recovery Network and RISE St. James. 

Feminist activists have a huge role to play when it comes to protecting the land, soil, and air we all depend on for survival. We stand in solidarity with and look forward to continuing to partner with the Louisiana Bucket Brigade and their efforts to challenge the ongoing threats facing the natural environment of the Gulf Coast. Onward! 

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Urgent Action Fund for Feminist Activism

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Chinyere Ezie

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Chinyere Ezie is a Senior Staff Attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights, where she advocates for racial justice, gender justice, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex (LGBTQI+) rights, and challenges governmental abuses of power. Chinyere previously worked at the Southern Poverty Law Center where she brought cases defending the rights of LGBTQI+ Southerners. She also served as a Trial Attorney at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, where she litigated employment discrimination cases and secured a $5.1 million jury verdict on behalf of workers subjected to unlawful treatment. Chinyere is a William J. Fulbright Scholar, a White House Fellows Program Regional Panelist, and a cum laude graduate of Yale University. She also received a Juris Doctorate from Columbia Law School, where she was an Alexander Hamilton Scholar and served as Editor in Chief of the Journal of Gender and Law. Chinyere serves on the Board of Directors of the Transgender Law Center and the feminist grant-making organization the Urgent Action Fund. She was also a Founding Board Member of the National Trans Bar Association.In 2018, she was named one of the nation’s Best LGBTQI+ Lawyers Under 40.