Sharon Lavigne is a resident of Louisiana who lives and owns property in the predominately African-American Fifth District of St. James Parish, which is heavily pervaded by pipelines and petrochemical facilities, including tank farms. Part of Lavigne’s property, which has been in her family for generations, was long subject to an oil, gas, and mineral lease.
As a landowner with oil and gas exploration operations and potentially pipelines running through her property, Lavigne is concerned about the amended law's vagueness as to its reach and scope and who gets to decide when she, her family, or guests can be on or near those parts of the property. Lavigne is also founder and president of RISE St. James, a grassroots, faith-based organization dedicated to opposing the siting of new petrochemical facilities in the area out of concern for the worsening health effects and environmental pollution from industry in the area.
In that capacity, she has organized marches, press conferences, and demonstrations in the area and intends to continue to do so in St. James and elsewhere in the region known as “Cancer Alley,” the 85-mile stretch between Baton Rouge and New Orleans heavily burdened by petrochemical facilities. Lavigne is concerned that the so-called Critical Infrastructure law, La. R.S. 14:61, will impact their ability to march and protest in areas where there are numerous pipelines. She is a plaintiff in the Center for Constitutional Rights case, White Hat v. Landry.