Tucked into the southwest Louisiana bayous, Mossville was one of the first settlements of free blacks in the South, dating back to 1790. Today, the poor enclave of 500 residents is "quite possibly the most polluted corner of the most polluted region in one of the most polluted states in the country," according to Mother Jones.
More than a dozen industrial plants already surround Mossville, and nearby, South African chemical giant SASOL is looking to build the largest chemical plant of its kind in the Western Hemisphere.
The $21 billion project is expected to bring more than 10 million cubic tons of greenhouse gases a year—notable considering there were 100 times more chemical toxins in the air than the national average when the Environmental Protection Agency studied Mossville's air quality in 1998. The pollution and the chemical industry's underhanded tactics have driven many out of the area. That will include Dorothy Felix, a seventh-generation Mossville resident and community activist, who says, "I'm going to leave all of this behind, a place that I love so much...."
In other news...
- Justice, Delayed: The bankrupt city of Detroit recently discovered a painfully unwelcome surplus: thousands of unprocessed rape kits, boxes of evidence gathered from victims, were hidden away in a warehouse. Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy is determined to get all 11,304 kits tested and begin prosecutions. (via Buzzfeed)
- Most Worthless College Educations, Revealed: According to an analysis from The Atlantic, not going to college is at least $30,000 more valuable than going to schools such as Savannah State University, UNC-Asheville, and Morehead State. When accounting for student debt, that's how little the return was on those educations 20 years later.
- The Punters, United: Northwestern University football players are shaking up the college football world after the National Labor Relations Board ruled Wednesday that scholarship students are employees of the school. The ruling means the college players can vote on whether they want to unionize. (via The Chicago Tribune)
- Back of the Bus: A University of North Carolina athlete wrote the world's most pitiful essay on civil rights hero Rosa Parks—148 words in its entirety—and got an A minus. Really. (via Jezebel)
- Lights, Crimea, Action: Hollywood film distributors are being forced to play politics after pro-Russian cinema owners in Crimea started asking for movies to be dubbed in Russian. Crimea has been annexed by Russian forces, but Western leaders aren't recognizing the takeover as a transfer of state. (via The Hollywood Reporter)
- Tickling the Ivories: The Obama administration is planning rules to prohibit the export of African elephant ivory and its trade in the U.S.—but activists aren't sure the plan will save the lumbering beasts. (via The New York Times)
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