tschuetz Annotations

What publications focus on this plant?

Tuesday, June 7, 2022 - 2:20pm
  • Blackburn, Jim, and Mae Wu. “Case Study: Voluntary Agreements in Environmental Management at Formosa Plastics.” Environmental Quality Management 8, no. 1 (1998): 19–28. https://doi.org/10/cczx2r
  • Mickenberg, Julia L., and Philip Nel. “Radical Children’s Literature Now!” Children’s Literature Association Quarterly 36, no. 4 (2011): 445–73. https://doi.org/10.1353/chq.2011.0040.
  • Peñalver, Elena Alcalde, and Alexandra Santamaría Urbieta. “Whose Fault Is It? Students’ Perceptions towards the American Financial System through an English for Specific Purposes Class.” Porta Linguarum: Revista Internacional de Didáctica de Las Lenguas Extranjeras, no. 37 (2022): 27–45.
  • Schütz, Tim. "Visualizing Taiwan's Formosa Plastics." Interactions 28, no. 4 (2021): 50-55.
  • Tran, Dalena. “A Comparative Study of Women Environmental Defenders’ Antiviolent Success Strategies.” Geoforum 126 (November 1, 2021): 126–38. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geoforum.2021.07.024.
  • Tubilewicz, Czeslaw. “Foreign Capital and US States’ Contested Strategies of Internationalisation: A Constructivist Analysis.” Contemporary Politics 0, no. 0 (November 10, 2021): 1–22. https://doi.org/10.1080/13569775.2021.2001156.
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What groups and government agencies have become involved in plant oversight?

Tuesday, June 7, 2022 - 2:11pm
  • San Antonio Bay Estuarine Waterkeepers
  • Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ)
  • NurdlePatrol
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What political-economic dynamics have shaped the development of the plant?

Tuesday, June 7, 2022 - 2:05pm

Following growing  resistance against Formosa in Taiwan, the company decided to expand to Texas in the early 1980s (see Elkind 1989 and Tubilewicz 2021)

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What legal actions have focused on this plant?

Tuesday, June 7, 2022 - 2:04pm

In 2017, Diane Wilson, Dale Jurasek, and Ronnie Hamrick (another former wastewater manager) – organized as the Calhoun County Waterkeepers – filed a landmark citizens lawsuit against Formosa, bringing literally buckets of evidence forward, supporting allegations of rampant and illegal discharge of plastic pellets and other pollutants into Lavaca Bay from Formosa’s Calhoun County plant. The case was led by Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, which describes the outcome as the largest settlement of a Clean Water Act suit filed by private individuals (Berti Suman & Schade 2021). 

Legal scholars Suman and Schade (2021) argue that the case is unique due to the voluntary collection and presentation of a large quantity of evidence collected over an extended period of time that was accepted by both the judge and defendants without objections since neither the defendant nor “competent authorities” could provide competing evidence. The Waterkeepers collection and presentation of pollution data thus filled an “enforcement gap.” While noting the peculiarities of the US legal system that enables citizen lawsuits, Suman and Schade also argue that the Waterkeeper’s case could inspire monitoring activities in environmental justice communities around the world, helping to shift how citizen science can be used as evidence. 

The Waterkeepers legal win demonstrates the potential of law, and particularly citizens suits, in environmental governance, countering long-running cynicism about the role of the law and state writ large in redressing problems largely of their own making. It also, however, suggests that citizens suits have special power today, precisely because they are both in and slightly beyond the bounds of law, of and beyond the state. Through citizens suits, non-state actors can use state mechanisms to hold the state to account for failing to do its job. This depends, however, on sustained data collection, curation and presentation, and the infrastructure needed to support this. There are thus long backstories that need to be built – bodies of evidence, analysis and interpretation that can be brought to bear in work to turn “the state” around.

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What roles do people play in plant operations?

Tuesday, June 7, 2022 - 1:54pm

In the 1990s, a shift supervisor and wastewater manager at Formosa Plastics, Dale Jurasek, found himself suffering from sores that no doctor in Calhoun County could explain. Only months later, after several visits to a regional medical center associated with the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration, did he learn that the reasons were chemicals he was exposed to at the Formosa plant where he worked, causing irreparable damage to his nervous system. Jurasek’s experience exhibits what can be called divisible health care, which runs in a tangled parallel with divisible governance. It is an experience painfully familiar to many people with toxic exposures: seeking health care itself becomes toxic because established health systems can’t register the strange, sometimes highly individualized, effects of toxic harms (Morgan and Fortun; Fortun 2011).

Angry that Formosa harmed his health and likely that of many other workers, Jurasek then contacted the US EPA and FBI as a whistleblower, providing undercover information about worker safety and failed environmental protections at the Calhoun County Formosa plant (Gibbons 2019). After several years of work on the case, however, the FBI dropped it. Jurasek speculates that this was because the FBI’s attention was diverted by a big case against Koch Industries. Again, capacity to govern environmental health was inadequate. 

Jursaek stayed angry. He also learned about Diane Wilson, and in 2008 reached out for a meeting – at a meeting place out of town so they wouldn’t be recognized by neighbors. The result was a coalition between Formosa plant workers and a local shrimp fisher that has had staying power, bringing different perspectives on Formosas together. 

In 2017, Diane Wilson, Dale Jurasek, and Ronnie Hamrick (another former wastewater manager) – organized as the Calhoun County Waterkeepers – filed a landmark citizens lawsuit against Formosa, bringing literally buckets of evidence forward, supporting allegations of rampant and illegal discharge of plastic pellets and other pollutants into Lavaca Bay from Formosa’s Calhoun County plant. The case was led by Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, which describes the outcome as the largest settlement of a Clean Water Act suit filed by private individuals (Berti Suman & Schade 2021).

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What does the plant produce (products, pollution, health outcomes)?

Tuesday, June 7, 2022 - 1:24pm

 According to Oil and Gas Watch, the plant consists of sixteen production units and support facilities, see

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