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Anne Rolfes

From EverybodyWiki Bios & Wiki

Anne Rolfes is an environmental activist based in New Orleans, Louisiana. She is the founder and director of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, a nonprofit organization that collaborates with communities impacted by the petrochemical industry. The organization’s mission is to hasten the transition from fossil fuels.[1]

Rolfes was born in Lafayette, Louisiana which is an economic hub of the oil industry in Louisiana.[2] She went to St. Thomas More Catholic High School alongside future oil industry lobbyists and employees, including Mike Moncla, the President of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association.[3]

Early Career[edit]

Rolfes began her career in West Africa, first as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Togo where she served from 1991-1993 as an agroforestry in the northern Sahel region of the country.[4] She then collaborated with the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People to document the destruction of Ogoniland by Royal Dutch Shell. In 1998 Rolfes traveled to Come, Benin to document the experiences of the Ogoni refugees, interviews documented in the report Shell-Shocked Refugees.[5] Rolfes returned to her home state in 1999 and began volunteering with the Concerned Citizens of Norco, a group representing a community that had also been battling Royal Dutch Shell. Rolfes supported the group and its leader Margie Richard in pursuit of the community goal of relocation from Shell’s polluting facilities. Rolfes authored two reports during the campaign, including Shell Games and Don’t Divide Diamond.[6] The Diamond community received relocation offers from Shell, a realization of the community’s goal. Margie Richard received the Goldman Environmental Prize for this work.[7]

In 2000 Rolfes collaborated with Richard and two other women along Cancer Alley - Dorothy Jenkins and Shonda Lee - to form the Louisiana Bucket Brigade. The organization was named after an easy to use air sampling device - the bucket - that Rolfes trained local residents to use.

Community Collaborations[edit]

Since the inception of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, Rolfes has led collaborations with community groups throughout the state, including The Concerned Citizens of New Sarpy, St. Bernard Citizens for Environmental Quality, Community Empowerment for Change (Baton Rouge), Resident for Air Neutralization (Shreveport), St. Rose Community One Voice, RISE St. James and Inclusive, Louisiana (Convent).

These collaborations have included significant oil industry disasters. During the collaboration in New Sarpy in 2001, the Orion Refinery experienced the world’s largest tank fire, a fire still noted in the Guinness Book of World Records.[8] Hurricane Katrina (2005) hit St. Bernard Parish in the years of that collaboration, and the Murphy Refinery spilled one million gallons of oil in the neighborhood.[9] Rolfes supported the communities throughout these disasters and collaborated with coastal communities during the BP Disaster of 2010. She testified before Congress twice in the wake of the Disaster.[10]


Rolfes led the development and implementation of cutting-edge tools to document pollution, including the iWitness Pollution[11] map (using the Ushahidi platform) and the Refinery Accident Database.[12] Rolfes trained Louisiana residents to take air samples resulting in the largest collection of community gathered air samples in the country.

Rolfes has also collaborated with impacted communities to write reports. These include Land Sharks, Science for Sale, Plan without People and numerous reports about oil industry accidents, including those offshore and at refineries. Her prioritization of media resulted in hundreds of news stories featuring communities in Louisiana impacted by the petrochemical industry.


2006/2007 Jane Bagley Lehman Award for Advocacy[13]

2007 Robert Wood Johnson Community Health Leader Award[14]


Rolfes has been arrested numerous times for nonviolent protest, including the five-year anniversary of the BP Disaster at BP headquarters in Houston. In 2020 she was arrested for her activism targeting Formosa Plastics after delivering Formosa Plastics’ plastic pollution to lobbyists.[15] She and her colleague Kate McIntosh were charged with felony terrorism, a penalty of 15 years in jail. They turned themselves in to Baton Rouge police, but the charges were ultimately rejected by the District Attorney of Baton Rouge.[16]


  1. "About Us". Louisiana Bucket Brigade. Retrieved 2021-05-28.
  2. "Oil & Gas Companies in Louisiana". Retrieved 2021-05-28.
  3. "LOGA | Team". Retrieved 2021-05-28.
  4. "Anne Rolfes". My New Orleans. 2013-12-02. Retrieved 2021-05-28.
  5. "[PDF] Shell Shocked - Ogoni Refugee Report - Free Download PDF". Retrieved 2021-05-28.
  6. "Shell-Games-2000" (PDF). Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  7. "Margie Richard". Goldman Environmental Foundation. Retrieved 2021-05-28.
  8. "Largest fuel tank fire". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 2021-05-28.
  9. "A new exhibit lets New Orleans residents tell their own stories". Grist. 2006-08-30. Retrieved 2021-05-28.
  10. "Anne Rolfes |". Retrieved 2021-05-28.
  11. Weber, Sam (2010-05-07). "Crowdsourcing the Gulf oil spill". Need to Know | PBS. Retrieved 2021-05-28.
  12. "Refinery Accident Database". Louisiana Bucket Brigade. Retrieved 2021-05-28.
  13. "Previous Winners". Tides. Retrieved 2021-05-28.
  14. "Previous Winners". Tides. Retrieved 2021-05-28.
  15. Canfield, Sabrina (2020-06-26). "Environmental Activists Decry Felony Arrests as Intimidation". Courthouse News Service. Retrieved 2021-05-28.
  16. "Prosecution dropped against 2 environmental activists". AP NEWS. 2020-12-22. Retrieved 2021-05-28.

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