OPINION

Letter: Environmental, health concerns expressed for proposed ethane cracker plant

Barnesville Enterprise

Editor:

The Thailand-based company PTT Global Chemical has once again announced a delay of the construction of the proposed ethane cracker plant in Belmont County (see Times Reporter Sunday, Nov. 15). Local residents have continually expressed their opposition to this plant that would add significantly to the air and water pollution of the Ohio River Valley. If built the plant could release 30 tons of hazardous air pollutants, 323 tons of particulate matter, and 522 tons of volatile organic compounds such as benzene and toluene in a region prone to air inversions.

Local, state, and federal politicians have declined to meet with the grassroots environmental groups and have all but ignored the peer-reviewed scientific studies of the health effects associated with the entire life-cycle of plastics production. Residents of the region are basically being told to choose between jobs and their health.

This project has already been infused with over $70 million dollars from JobsOhio, a nonprofit created by former Ohio Governor Kasich. This was used to clean-up and prepare the site located in Dilles Bottom, Ohio. As the delays continue, the prices for single-use plastics are dropping. Of the 300 million tons of plastic produced each year, half is for single-use products. Only 9 percent of plastic waste is recycled and more than 8 million tons of plastic is dumped into the oceans each year.

We now have plastic in our air, in beer, in tap water, in the soil, and in our bodies. Plastic is not a benign material. It contains heavy metals and plasticizers that cause cancer and endocrine disruption. The Ohio Valley and the world does not need another polluting petrochemical plant. The region needs long-term safe sustainable jobs.

Dr. Randi Pokladnik

Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition

Concerned Ohio River Residents

Mid-Ohio Valley Climate Action