Top 10 U.S. emitters of cancer-causing gas are in Louisiana and Texas

The Holy Rosary Cemetery next to Dow Chemical in Taft, Louisiana. Photo: Julie Dermansky/Corbis via Getty Images

The top 10 emitters of cancer-causing ethylene oxide gas are all located in Louisiana and Texas, according to Bloomberg Environment analysis of the Environmental Protection Agency's air toxic emissions data this week.

Why it matters: More than 100 petrochemical plants and refineries occupy a stretch between Baton Rouge and New Orleans that was formerly referred to as the "Petrochemical Corridor," but is now known as "Cancer Alley," per CBC News. At its heart is the town of Reserve, Louisiana, where residents have been diagnosed with cancer at "highly unusual" rates, according to a report by the University Network for Human Rights.

The big picture: Per Bloomberg's Amena Saiyid, the chemical plants in Louisiana and Texas "have not received the same sort of investigation or monitoring from either the states or the federal government [as others], and lawmakers from those states appear unaware of the issue."

Background: Ethylene oxide is "a flammable, colorless gas used to make other chemicals that are used in making a range of products, including antifreeze, textiles, plastics, detergents and adhesives," according to the EPA.

Threat level: The EPA found in 2016 that "ethylene oxide is at least 30 times more carcinogenic than previously understood," Bloomberg reports.

What's next

EPA proposes roll back to Obama-era methane regulations

Photo: Robert Alexander/Getty Images

The Environmental Protection Agency proposed new rules Thursday designed to ease Obama-era regulations on methane emissions from the oil and gas business.

Why it matters: Methane is a very potent greenhouse gas. The oil and gas industry is a significant source of emissions from wells plus natural gas pipelines, compressors and other equipment.

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29 states and cities sue Trump administration over weakening of climate rules

New York Attorney General Letitia James. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

A group of 29 states and local governments on Tuesday filed suit against the Trump administration's move to replace Obama-era climate rules for power plants with a more modest alternative.

Why it matters: The litigation, led by New York Attorney General Letitia James, sets the stage for a new federal court battle over the scope of regulators' authority and duty to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act.

Go deeperArrowAug 13, 2019 - Energy

Kathleen Blanco, Louisiana governor during Hurricane Katrina, has died

Former Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco. Photo: Bill Haber/AP

Former Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco (D), who led Louisianians during Hurricane Katrina, one of the state's "darkest hours," died of cancer Sunday, said Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) , paying tribute to the "trailblazer" on Twitter. She was 76.

Why it matters: Per Edwards, his predecessor broke down many barriers to become the first woman elected governor of Louisiana, "leading the way for others to follow. " "She stands among the giants who have helped shaped Louisiana’s history," Edwards said.

The big picture: Doctors successfully treated Blanco for cancer in her eye in 2011, but it later returned and spread to her liver, AP reports. "I’ve had an extraordinarily full life," the devout Catholic told the Advocate in December 2017, when she announced she was being treated for the incurable melanoma.