BATON ROUGE – The ACLU of Louisiana joined other environmental and racial justice organizations in condemning the felony charges facing two Louisiana environmental activists, Anne Rolfes and Kate McIntosh, in Baton Rouge.

“These trumped up charges are a brazen threat to the First Amendment rights of activists who have been peacefully and courageously speaking out against the environmental racism and injustice being perpetrated by the petrochemical industry in Cancer Alley,” said Alanah Odoms Hebert, ACLU of Louisiana executive director. “It is reprehensible that the Baton Rouge Police Department would be complicit in what is clearly an attempt by a private corporation to retaliate against environmental activists who are fighting to protect their community from dangerous chemical pollutants. These charges need to be dropped immediately, and any official involved in carrying them out should be held accountable. Formosa Plastics and their lobbyists may not like what these activists have to say, but they have no right to use the legal system to silence or punish them.” 

The charges stem from the placement of plastic pellets outside an oil lobbyist’s home to protest the planned construction of a plant by Formosa Plastics, a Taiwanese petrochemical company. According to the Intercept, the activists were notified of the warrant only hours after Forma lost an attempt to prevent community members from holding a ceremony at a burial site for enslaved people, located in a field where Formosa plans to build one of its facilities.