by Diane Wilson
Follow Diane’s day-by-day account of the latest Global Hunger Strike against Formosa Plastics. You can join her by signing up here.
I am sitting in my truck in Formosa Plastic’s ditch and watching a Texas Norther barrel down on top of me. This front looks like rain, so I’m squeezed in my truck with an undone 4-man pop up tent, protest signs, banners, duct tape, umbrella, hammer for tent, computer, fold-up toilet, pencil, paper, computer and probably 20 jars and baggies of plastic powder and pellets from Matagorda Bay and Cox Creek, compliments of Formosa Plastics.
Currently Formosa Plastics, Texas must comply with zero discharge of plastic from their facility because they agreed to it after we sued them with a citizen Clean Water Act suit in 2019. Formosa also agreed to monitoring and enforcement of zero discharge. One interesting outcome of the monitoring provision was that in our settlement (a Consent Decree), San Antonio Bay Waterkeeper’s contracted engineer could design a system to test the industrial waste stream of Formosa Plastic’s discharge of plastics into Lavaca Bay BEFORE IT IS DISCHARGED. After it was designed, Formosa Plastics paid for the system, and it is called the Wastewater Sampling Mechanism (WSM). A third-party monitoring crew samples the WSM and Formosa Plastic’s stormwater outfalls into Cox Creek for plastics 3 times a week. Formosa pays for this too according to our Consent Decree. Since June of 2021 when the WSM was finally built and running, Formosa Plastics has violated zero discharge of plastic 534 times and been fined $13.2 Million. That money goes into the Matagorda Bay Mitigation Trust that funds environment projects in our community.
The WSM that samples Formosa’s discharge for plastic before it goes into the bay can be done anywhere. Wondering if plastic is being discharged is not dependent on the company or guesswork anymore. A community who lives around and loves the bay where a plastic company does business does not have to take it anymore. Demand zero discharge and a Wastewater Sampling Mechanism. If Formosa Plastics, Texas can do it, then any company can do it. And importantly, Formosa Plastics can do it anywhere, too.