Harry Joseph is a resident of Louisiana and pastor of the 114-year-old Mount Triumph Baptist Church in St. James Parish, Louisiana. With a 95 percent African-American population, St. James shoulders a disproportionate amount of pollution arising from the many petrochemical facilities, including tank farms and numerous pipelines. The infamous record of industry leaks, fires, and spills have significantly impacted the health of the community, contributing heavily to the poor environmental reputation of the area, which is known as 'cancer alley'.
Pastor Joseph is a member of RISE St. James, a grassroots, faith-based organization founded to oppose the ongoing siting of polluting industry in St. James, and particularly in the 5th District, a predominately African-American community, because of concerns about harmful health effects and ongoing environmental pollution. RISE St. James has organized press conferences, revivals, and marches to protest the permitting of new petrochemical facilities in the surrounding area, and intends to continue to do so.
Pastor Joseph is a leading community voice advocating for a better future for the people of St. James in the face of the oil and gas industry who speaks out frequently against the siting of new petrochemical companies in the area. Joseph was very active and outspoken against the Bayou Bridge Pipeline project because it would pump an additional 500,000 barrels a day into his community and encourage even more petrochemical projects to locate in the area to take advantage of the increased oil supply.
Pastor Joseph has helped organize public events on these issues and has organized and participated in marches and press conferences about the Bayou Bridge Pipeline and other petrochemical projects, and at times attempted to monitor, observe, and report on the construction of the Bayou Bridge pipeline. He is a plaintiff in the Center for Constitutional Rights case, White Hat v. Landry. He is concerned that the new so-called Critical Infrastructure law, La. R.S. 14:61, will make it more difficult to organize and participate in marches and events expressing opposition to such projects, given the proliferation of pipelines in the community.