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Smoke rises from a burning chemical plant after the passing of Hurricane Laura in Lake Charles, Louisiana on Aug. 27, 2020. ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP via Getty Images

When Hurricane Laura struck the Gulf Coast early on Thursday with record-setting winds and storm surges that caused flooding, it was bearing down on an area full of chemical plants. The fears about having toxic chemicals in an area increasingly vulnerable to tropical storms are playing out as a chemical plant caught fire and sent toxic plumes into the air throughout the day, as The New York Times reported.

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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A NOAA satellite image of the Gulf of Mexico on Aug. 27, 2020 at 7:36 a.m. EST. NOAA

In the middle of the night, Hurricane Laura made landfall, hitting the Gulf Coast in Louisiana with record-setting 150 mph winds, according to the National Hurricane Center, which warned of an "unsurvivable" storm surge.

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An aerial photo shows a flooded New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina on September 11, 2005. NOAA / Wikimedia Commons

When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005, the convent of the Sisters of St. Joseph was severely damaged by flooding.

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Two Louisiana Bucket Brigade activists are facing felony "terrorizing" charges for leaving a box of plastic pellets collected from Texas waters near a coastal Formosa Plastics facility on the doorstep of a fossil fuel lobbyist in December 2019. MARTIN BERNETTI / AFP / Getty Images

By Jessica Corbett

At least 40 U.S. climate and environmental advocacy groups on Friday rallied behind two Louisiana Bucket Brigade activists who are facing felony "terrorizing" charges for leaving a box of plastic pellets collected from Texas waters near a coastal Formosa Plastics facility on the doorstep of a fossil fuel lobbyist in December 2019.

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The Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, Louisiana has been converted to a 1,000-bed field hospital for coronavirus patients to alleviate stress on local hospitals. Chris Graythen / Getty Images

An area in Louisiana whose predominantly black and brown residents are hard-hit by health problems from industry overdevelopment is experiencing one of the highest death rates from coronavirus of any county in the United States.

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Earthjustice says Louisiana has violated the Clean Water Act and given Formosa Plastics Group the "greenlight to double toxic air pollution in St. James" (seen above). Louisiana Bucket Brigade

By Jessica Corbett

A coalition of local and national groups on Friday launched a legal challenge to a Louisiana state agency's decision to approve air permits for a $9.4 billion petrochemical complex that Taiwan-based Formosa Plastics Group plans to build in the region nationally known as "Cancer Alley."

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The coast of Grand Isle, Louisiana, is seen. Matthew D White / Photolibrary / Getty Images

The land in the Mississippi River Delta is sinking and eroding. Louisiana has lost about 2,000 square miles since the 1930s. And as seas rise, the loss of land will only accelerate.

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Communities in the Deep South are still recovering after a series of devastating tornadoes tore through the region earlier this week. They were the first killer tornadoes since May of this year.

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Formosa Plastics has plans to bulldoze over a sacred slave burial ground in St. James Parish, Louisiana, pictured above for a new manufacturing complex that will cover the size of 80 football fields. Louisiana Bucket Brigade

A major plastics manufacturing complex planned for construction in a highly-polluted region of Louisiana may disrupt a historic slave burial site, The Intercept reports.

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Pastor Gregory Manning, with Justice and Beyond, a New Orleans based civil rights advocacy group, pinned to the ground while being handcuffed. Julie Dermansky / DeSmog

By Julie Dermansky

Mounting concerns over pollution, public health and the expansion of the petrochemical industry came to a head when two activists were detained in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Oct. 30, the last day of a two-week protest against environmental racism in Louisiana's Cancer Alley.

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Heavy rain from a tropical storm system flooded South Telemachus Street in New Orleans Wednesday morning. SETH HERALD / AFP / Getty Images

The first Atlantic hurricane of the season is expected to hit Louisiana Saturday, and New Orleans is already flooding.

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A flare from the Shell Refinery in Norco, Louisiana shines along with Christmas lights on residents homes on Dec. 19, 2013. Julie Dermansky / Corbis via Getty Images

By Julie Dermansky

Louisiana is ground zero for the devastating impacts of climate change. Even though the state is already feeling the costly impacts to life and property due to extreme weather and an eroding coastline linked to a warming planet, its government continues to ignore the primary cause—human use of fossil fuels.

The impacts to the region, such as worsening floods, heat waves and sea level rise, will only be intensified as the globe continues warming, warn federal scientists in the latest National Climate Assessment report.

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A dusky gopher frog. USFWS

The U.S. Supreme Court delivered a unanimous setback Tuesday to efforts to protect an extremely endangered species of frog in Louisiana, The New York Times reported.

In Weyerhaeuser v. United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), landowners had sued to stop the federal government from designating private land in Louisiana as "critical habitat" for the dusky gopher frog, which currently only lives in the De Soto National Forest in Mississippi. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans had upheld the FWS decision to protect the land, but the Supreme Court ruled Tuesday to send the case back to the appeals court, asking the lower court to reconsider some key issues.

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