Doomed by Economics: The Downfall of Dirty Industry

This month, we received a report from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) about the financial outlook for (or more like against) the Shell ethane cracker currently under construction in Beaver County, PA.

According to the IEEFA report, the financial outlook for Shell—and by extension the rest of the proposed massive Appalachian Storage Hub/petrochemical complex—doesn’t look good. When Shell planned this cracker plant, plastic prices were more than twice what they are today. This is partly because companies increased their production in places like the Gulf Coast and Asia—where petrochemical hubs already existed—faster than cracker plants in Appalachia could get off the ground. This increase in production overseas flooded the market, creating oversupply and driving prices down. Worse yet for the would-be polluters of the Ohio River Valley, though there have been measurable impacts from COVID-19, this economic downtown predates the coronavirus.

But the industry is hoping to fool us, as well as politicians. They are trying to use their propaganda machine to convince the public they are victims of unforeseen circumstances, asking for more bailouts for their industry and the frackers who fuel it. However, we have known that this bubble was going to burst for years. This industry does not deserve handouts.

The IEEFA report underscores the truth of this matter. Shell was supposed to be the crown jewel of the Appalachian Storage Hub, but it appears to be flopping before production can even get started.

Now is the time to apply pressure to the industry and its stakeholders. Now is the time to hold our politicians accountable for kowtowing to this industry.

You can help hold politicians’ feet to the fire on the proposed Appalachian Storage Hub projects, like the PTTG cracker in Belmont County, OH. We can’t let politicians keep throwing subsidies and tax breaks at these companies when we know they won’t deliver the economic prosperity they promise. We can all think of better ways to spend that money—especially in these trying times.

Help us build pressure on Governor Justice and other elected officials and urge them to focus on alternative solutions and pathways toward a sustainable future. Click here to send a letter to your representatives.

Take Action Now

Instead of investing in flailing industries that poison our land, air, water, and communities, tell our leaders it’s time to explore more feasible and sustainable economic development strategies that provide long-term prosperity for people in our region.

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