If developed, the planned “Appalachian Petrochemical Hub” for plastics manufacture, will bring a massive petrochemical industry build-up to West Virginia. It would make the “Chemical Valley” in Kanawha County look like an afterthought and entrench fossil fuel and plastics infrastructure for decades.
Once again, the people of Appalachia are being told we “need” to put health and safety on the line for industry profit. Such facilities not only continually pollute air and water with dangerous chemicals but, together, the projected five cracker plants would emit up to 10 million tons of greenhouse gasses per year.
Meanwhile, because gas wells are short-lived and their ethane yield for plastics production is low, each cracker would require 1,000 new fracked wells every five to 10 years. That number of new wells could dramatically increase the incidence of fracking leaks, spills, accidents, toxic waste and air-polluting compressor stations.
The current Environmental Protection Agency is pro-industry and our state Department of Environmental Protection has shown it can’t protect the people of West Virginia. Thus, when something goes wrong, who is going to help us?
Vested interests are touting this development as the savior for our region by grossly overstating expected employment. However, we could have plentiful, lasting jobs here that won’t destroy our health and future.
According to Forbes, the renewable energy sector has become a major U.S. employer, outnumbering fossil fuel workers by three to one. Yet, state and federal laws have significantly prevented West Virginia from realizing this breakthrough.