San Antonio Bay Waterkeeper - FORMOSA GAME OVER!

On Saturday March 23rd 2019, citizen-activists who exposed Formosa Plastics’ rampant pollution of Texas waterways with plastic pellets  and debris led a kayak tour of the Formosa Point Comfort plant and held a press conference before the following Monday’s opening arguments in their citizen lawsuit  against the company. Nearly a 100 allies participated including groups like Break Free From Plastics, Center for Biological Diversity, 350, Rise St.James, LA and over 60  Vietnamese-American  fishermen and oystermen from communities across Texas. 

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Lead plaintiff Diane Wilson, a local former shrimper, and co-plaintiffs from San Antonio Bay Estuarine Waterkeeper  were supported by allies from Texas, California and Louisiana, where the company is now seeking permits to build another massive plastics plant in St. James Parish.

Formosa must be held accountable for polluting our waterways with plastic over so many years. This company’s disregard for marine life, fisheries and coastal communities can’t go unpunished,” said Alex Gutierrez, an oysterman familiar with plastic pollution in Lavaca Bay.


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“The rampant plastic pollution here is a warning to other communities considering approving these large plastics plants.”

For the last three and a half years Waterkeeper volunteers have been paddling into the creeks, streams and bay and taking daily pellet and powder samples from the water and the shoreline. Over 2400 samples and counting.  We've been fastidiously documenting over 6,000 photos and videos of Formosa's violations of the Clean Water Act.



We are also working on "telling" the full story of Formosa's plastic pollution online via an ArcGIS StoryMap which has been designed by a post-grad volunteer from Duke University and long-term allies of Diane Wilson from the Justice for Bhopal campaign. Maps, photos, videos, hydrology analysis, research papers, documents, discovery papers from the recent lawsuit and much more, will inform and educate global fence-line communities and future generations.

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Together, the Waterkeepers built a robust backlog of evidence and began organizing for legal action. We filed a citizens' Clean Water Suit against Formosa and went to court in Victoria, Texas on March 25, 2019.  Local and national environmental activists witnessed the 5 day trial and sent daily reports to media .

(Please see below a comprehensive list of media coverage pre and post trial.)

During the trial, Formosa's attorneys kept trying to discredit the badly damaged and trauma affected ex-Formosa workers and Diane Wilson herself. They also claimed that the pellet emissions were only "trace amounts." Over 2,400 samples and millions of pellets and they're calling it "trace." We are currently awaiting Judge Hoyt's decision. It is expected to arrive in 2 months. If Formosa is found guilty, we begin the penalty phase of the lawsuit. 

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San Antonio Bay Estuarine Waterkeeper  does not seek money for themselves in the lawsuit; we seek damages of $184 million from Formosa to be paid to the federal government. What we ask of Formosa is simple: stop the discharge of plastic powder and pellets into our bays and remediate the accumulated pollution and its detrimental health impacts to ecosystem and human health.

Meanwhile, we the Waterkeepers, MUST continue our job of being vigilant, of monitoring the company's outfalls and the waters and shores of Lavaca/Matagorda Bay and Cox Creek. We MUST keep collecting samples and evidence in order to raise awareness and educate and engage with local and other communities that are being threatened by Formosa projects.

Last year I asked you to help me buy a used skiff, used motor and a kayak and y'all came through! Will you help us again?  We urgently need funds for:

1) Formosa Trial Transcripts - $5,000

2) Motor and float system repairs  - $1,000

3) Gas - $40/week

4) Storage boxes for samplings - $300

5) Climate controlled storage during hurricane season
(we lost many samples during Hurricane Harvey when my barn flooded) - $120/month

6) Digital & online storage for thousands of pictures & videos for StoryMap Project & ESRI license - $500

Our bank balance was a mere $15.55 yesterday.

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Your tax-deductible donation no matter how small, will make an impact.
1$, $15 or $500. Every little bit will help us fight Formosa.

Thank you for your solidarity.

If you would rather send a check in the mail, please make it out to Calhoun County Resource Watch 

Address:
600 Ramona Rd. 
Seadrift, Texas 77983.

Thank you again!
On behalf of San Antonio Bay Estuarine Waterkeeper,
Diane Wilson.

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PRESS ADVISORY 03/23/2019:
https://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2019/plastics-pollution-03-21-2019.php 

PRESS RELEASE FROM 03/25/2019:
https://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2019/Formosa-Plastics-pollution-protests-Texas-03-25-2019.php 

https://www.thenation.com/article/plastics-pollution-crisis-fracking-petrochemicals/

TRIAL COVERAGE:
https://www.victoriaadvocate.com/formosa-trial-day/html_e9edc3ac-4f46-11e9-95c9-77511dd1892b.html

https://www.crossroadstoday.com/news/lawsuit-against-formosa-plastics-plastic-pellets-to-blame/981164839

https://www.crossroadstoday.com/news/local-news/citizen-led-lawsuit-against-plastics-giant-formosa-underway/1062489300

https://www.crossroadstoday.com/news/citizen-led-lawsuit-against-formosa-plastics-advances/1028185405


OTHER MEDIA:

https://www.plasticsnews.com/article/20190225/NEWS/190227627/formosa-seeks-end-to-federal-pellet-pollution-lawsuit

https://www.caller.com/story/news/local/2018/11/27/what-you-need-know-nurdles-and-threat-marine-life-texas-beaches/1807039002/

https://www.chron.com/business/article/Formosa-s-Texas-plant-fined-122-000-for-plastic-13545765.php

https://www.plasticsnews.com/article/20190117/NEWS/190119891/texas-fines-formosa-121000-for-pellet-pollution

https://www.victoriaadvocate.com/news/plastics-company-fined-almost-k-for-polluting-south-texas-waterway/article_36a39b00-19e0-11e9-8276-c7afb926c09d.html?platform=hootsuite

https://www.crossroadstoday.com/news/lawsuit-against-formosa-plastics-plastic-pellets-to-blame/981164839

https://www.environmentalleader.com/2017/08/formosa-plastics-faces-57m-lawsuit-leaking-plastic-pellets-bays/

https://www.expressnews.com/news/local/article/Some-Gulf-Coast-residents-sue-Formosa-over-11721865.php

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/dec/26/worlds-largest-plastics-plant-rings-alarm-bells-on-texas-coast

https://www.plasticstoday.com/sustainability/formosa-plastics-sued-significant-chronic-and-ongoing-violations-clean-water-act-texas-plant/43225499457242

https://www.courthousenews.com/conservationists-sue-plastics-dumped-texas-gulf/

https://newbloommag.net/2016/09/09/formosa-plastics-history/

https://www.victoriaadvocate.com/news/business/former-formosa-worker-finds-plastic-pellets-in-bay/article_45c91c0e-f8dd-586b-9acc-5b4f0a969d49.html

https://portlandcitizensunited.com/the-danger-of-exxons-polyethylene-pellets/

https://www.marketscreener.com/FORMOSA-PLASTICS-CORPORAT-6492354/news/Formosa-Plastics-Company-dumps-plastic-pellets-near-Port-Lavaca-causeway-27160749/


https://www.nola.com/environment/2019/02/formosa-fined-sued-over-plastic-pollution-in-texas-report.html


https://www.texasstandard.org/stories/what-are-nurdles-on-texas-beaches-theyre-a-menace/


https://www.houstonpublicmedia.org/articles/news/2017/08/16/230824/coastal-residents-sue-plastics-plant-on-water-pollution-claim/


https://newsok.com/article/feed/8532012/formosas-texas-plant-fined-122000-for-plastic-pellet-spill


http://www.texasenvironmentalnews.com/texas-fines-formosa-121000-for-pellet-pollution/


https://news.bloombergenvironment.com/environment-and-energy/57m-sought-from-formosa-plastics-over-water-pollution?context=article-related


http://bridgethegulfproject.org/blog/2016/coalition-oystermen-injured-workers-and-waterkeepers-wins-hearing-formosa-plastics%E2%80%99


https://ptla.org/formosa-plastics-faces-lawsuit-leaking-plastic-bays-environmental-leader


https://thehill.com/opinion/energy-environment/423606-whats-after-banning-straws-going-after-rising-plastic-production


https://www.texasobserver.org/gulf-coast-environmental-group-sues-plastic-company-after-slow-response-from-tceq/


https://www.victoriaadvocate.com/counties/calhoun/residents-sue-formosa-for-polluting-bays/article_4dd237a6-5361-55c2-8ff1-d3af5260f2d2.html


https://www.expressnews.com/news/local/article/Some-Gulf-Coast-residents-sue-Formosa-over-11721865.php


https://www.crossroadstoday.com/news/local-news/citizen-led-lawsuit-against-plastics-giant-formosa-underway/1062489300

https://www.victoriaadvocate.com/counties/calhoun/trial-begins-in-activists-pellet-lawsuit-against-formosa-plastics-w/article_68f626b8-4f14-11e9-a4bb-d3bde8f0eebd.html

https://www.victoriaadvocate.com/news/environment/activists-take-to-water-ahead-of-formosa-plastics-civil-trial/article_e9d8ee70-4daf-11e9-b2c4-7716486e4e47.html?utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&utm_campaign=user-share

https://www.texastribune.org/2019/03/25/formosa-goes-to-federal-court-for-alleged-plastic-pollution/

http://www.trla.org/trla-blog/texas-fines-formosa-plastics-for-polluting-state-waters

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Diane Wilson 
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Calhoun County Resource Watch 
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