No PTTG: Petrochemicals and Plastic

Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition

Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition
Press Release

View this Press Release Online  —  Mar 2, 2020

For Immediate Release                                                                               March 2, 2020

Dustin White, OVEC—Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, 304-541-3144, 
Bev Reed, Concerned Ohio River Residents, 740-738-3024,

No PTTG: Petrochemicals and Plastic

Local Citizens Voice Opposition to Petrochemicals/Plastics Hub at State Capitol

CHARLESTON, W.VA.—Residents from Marshall and Ohio counties, WV, and Belmont County, OH, made a three-hour trek to the WV State Capitol today to meet with legislators to speak about their opposition to an ethane cracker plant that PTT Global Chemical wants to build in Dilles Bottom, OH, across from Moundsville, WV. The cracker plant would impact the air quality of Moundsville and Wheeling, WV, which already have poor air quality. 

The residents informed lawmakers of their concerns about the PTTG cracker, which is just one component of many that would be part of the Appalachian Storage and Trading Hub (ASH). This is an umbrella name for a proposed petrochemical mega-complex, which primarily would use fracked natural gas liquids to make plastics in the Ohio and Kanawha River valleys.  One similar facility, the Shell ethane cracker, is already under construction in Monaca, PA.

If built, the petrochemical hub would span more than 400 miles along the rivers. Infrastructure related to the hub could reach into a 500-square-mile area in more than 50 counties in West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky. The infrastructure would include cracker plants and other types of refineries, underground storage facilities, and thousands of miles of pipelines. The feedstock for the petrochemical factories would come from a massive increase in regional fracking.

The residents noted that this proposed petrochemical buildout would exacerbate air and water pollution and threaten the health of the five million residents who depend on the Ohio River as a public water source. West Virginia already has a history of petrochemical-related disasters, including C8 pollution and the 2014 MCHM water crisis.

This proposed petrochemical corridor would exacerbate both climate change and the growing global plastic pollution crisis. Nonetheless, during the 2020 Legislative Session, many legislators have pushed a pro-petrochemical agenda, often referring to the proposed hub as a “petrochemical renaissance.”

Several bills were introduced to “lure” the petrochemical industry to West Virginia, including HB 4001, the Mountaineer Impact Fund, which could, according to one reporter’s analysis, “reopen the door” for an $83.7 billion investment by China Energy in petrochemical infrastructure in the state. The bill would allow West Virginia to serve as an official partner in investment deals, potentially putting taxpayers on the hook.

HB 4421, the Natural Gas Liquids Economic Development Act, would provide tax credits to companies that transport or store natural gas liquids.  HB 4019 would also give major tax breaks to the industry. 

Another proposal is HB 4615, an anti-protest bill, written to intimidate residents like those visiting the capitol today and keep them from participating in direct-action protests aimed at so-called “critical infrastructure”—oil, gas, and petrochemical industries—by enacting harsh penalties on protestors and their allies.

Legislators are pushing this agenda with little to no input from community members affected by the petrochemical complex and are ignoring scientific evidence and real-world precedence: Louisiana’s “Cancer Alley” has disproportionately high cases of human health impacts and economic disparity.

Quotes from residents at the State Capitol today:

Bev Reed, Bridgeport, OH, resident and leader with the community group Concerned Ohio River Residents, who lives just a few miles north of the proposed PTTG site: “I went to a university in West Virginia and I currently work in West Virginia. It is very unfortunate to see Ohio and West Virginia legislators pushing hard for this petrochemical/plastics hub. The Hub is about propping up a failing fossil fuel industry with plastic production at the expense of our health, air, water, pocketbooks, and future generations. There is much opposition to the hub in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia. We are here today to represent our communities. We ask the legislators to represent their people, not overseas corporate profits.”

Vincent DeGeorge, Ph.D., a Wheeling resident, researcher, and teacher of materials science and engineering at a state university: “As a lifelong West Virginian and as a scientific expert in both energy and materials, I cannot justify new large-scale investment in fossil fuels and plastics as positive for our state. If West Virginia fails to diversify our economy away from its fossil-fuel dominance and dependence, and instead doubles down by adding the globally collapsing plastics industry, we can only expect our economic, environmental, and public health problems to continue for future generations.”

Barbra Chamberlin, Moundsville resident: “My home—Moundsville, West Virginia—is being threatened with toxic air and water and environmental destruction due to the possible construction of a petrochemical plant on the Ohio River. I have children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, great-nephews and great-nieces, and a great-great-niece. I am sure they would wonder why we would do this to their home. Will the final years of my life be spent struggling to stay healthy in this toxic environment? Will I be able to breathe clean air and find clean water to drink? The transient jobs would not be worth the destruction of our home.”  


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