Marcellus Drilling News recently reported (on Oct. 4) that Thailand’s PTT Global Chemical recently signed a memorandum of understanding with “JobsOhio” related to its proposed ethane cracker plant in Mead Township, Belmont County, OH (upwind of Pittsburgh). While the MOU doesn’t sound particularly industrial in nature (and I can’t find the original text), it does indicate additional progress by industry to turn our region into a polluted petrochemical hub. Furthermore, PTT has already bought the property (for $13.8M), according to this source. PTT’s website indicates that the “final investment decision” is “expected before the end of 2017.”

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The Shell Ethane Cracker represents approximately $6B of investment, and the PTT facility is reported to be a $5B facility. That makes two foreign companies eager to build massive industrial facilities in our region to pollute our residents for the sake of a global economy that is already awash with so much plastic we can reasonably expect the ocean to contain more plastic than fish by 2050 (reference).

Furthermore, the Pittsburgh Climate Action Plan 3.0 (details and my comments here) calls for CO2 emissions reductions that will be nearly offset by the CO2 emissions of the Shell Cracker alone. The PTT facility will almost certainly make mince meat out of our plans to cut carbon emissions, putting us in a deep moral quandary and in conflict with all other industrialized nations committed to deep cuts in carbon emissions per the Paris Climate Agreement. This is a legacy that we must not hand to our children. (I have written a detailed summary of the connection between climate change and fracking/ethane crackers here.)

If we wait for the final final final news about this second ethane cracker plant then there will be even less we can do about it. Sign up here to receive NoPetroPA updates and news about community actions planned to address this curse on our communities.

~Mark Dixon

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