Pushing Back

A Guide for Frontline Communities Challenging Petrochemical Expansion

The plastics and petrochemicals industry has big plans to expand its footprint around the world. If this expansion moves forward, the industry will blow through our global carbon budget, exacerbate the plastics crisis, and threaten the health and safety of frontline communities, from the Gulf Coast of the US to Southeast Asia and beyond.

This guide by the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) is an informational resource for communities facing the threat of petrochemical production and expansion. Community leaders, organizers, and public interest attorneys can use this site to learn more about: petrochemicals, the risks and impacts of their production and use, and ways to raise concerns about existing or proposed facilities. While this guide is is primarily focused on petrochemical developments in the US, some of the information and tools may apply more broadly.

For more information, see the About This Site page.

Intro to Petrochemicals

Petrochemicals are byproducts of fossil fuel production that are used to make synthetic products like plastics and pesticides. This section covers the basics of petrochemicals, where they are made, and by whom.

Risks of Petrochemicals

Petrochemical facilities pose a variety of risks to human health and safety, local ecosystems, and the global climate. This section covers some of the most significant threats.

Talking Points

The petrochemical industry often makes bold and broad claims about its impacts on jobs and economic prosperity. Drawing on key facts and experiences from past projects will ensure community representatives and regulators stay focused on the real impacts of petrochemicals, plastics, and other industrial products.

Credit Mark Dixon, People Over Petro

Take Action

Community members affected by an existing or proposed petrochemical facility can take steps to obtain information and speak out about their concerns regarding the facility's construction, expansion, or operation.

Additional Resources

Continue learning about confronting the petrochemical buildout with the help of databases, studies, reports, briefings, and supplemental toolkits.

Credit Mark Dixon, People Over Petro