Full event photo album here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/9602574@N02/albums/72157698126777885 .


June 18, 2018

Sarah Martik, Center for Coalfield Justice

smartik@coalfieldjustice.org; (724) 986-6765

Diane Sipe, Marcellus Outreach Butler

sipediane5@gmail.com, 724-272-4539

More Than 55 Environmental Organizations Raised a Red Flag (And Paddle) On Public Health Impacts of the Petrochemical Industry Build-Out in the Region


Environmental organizations in the Ohio River Valley and beyond joined forces today in opposition to the proposed Appalachian Petrochemical Projects, which includes the Shell petrochemical plant in Beaver County, the planned petrochemical plant in Belmont County, Ohio, and the planned Appalachian Storage Hub in Ohio and West Virginia.

The timing of the “Paddle Against Petro” protest and the onshore rally was orchestrated to send a clear message to executives attending the Northeast U.S. Petrochemical Construction Conference & Exhibition, which has drawn top industry executives to the David L. Lawrence Convention Center this week.

“The growth and expansion of the petrochemical industry in three states brings with it a supporting web of highly polluting auxiliary industries and will decimate our air and water quality,” said Terrie Baumgardner of Beaver County Marcellus Awareness Community. “This industry will adversely impact the health of thousands of residents and communities in 50 counties in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia and turn up the dial on Climate Change. And for what? To create plastic products that will forever live in landfills and pollute our oceans.”

The rally and “kayaction” event took place in front of the Convention Center on the Three Rivers Heritage Trail and Allegheny River at 10 a.m. on July 18, 2018. The protest included a press conference, public rally, speakers from three states and banner raising on the Allegheny River. 

Organizations and individuals from West Virginia and Ohio joined the Paddle Against Petro event and expressed their concerns during the rally.

“We demand better alternatives for our region than a massive, three-state petrochemical hub,” said Jill Hunkler of Belmont County, Ohio. “Residents of southeastern Ohio are already suffering from a massive fracking invasion. There have been explosions at well sites, contamination of our reservoirs, air pollution and so much more. The proposed ethane cracker plant for Belmont county will only increase our suffering and contribute drastically to the polluting of our air and water putting all of us at risk.”

“Industry markets this as a mega-petrochemical hub game-changer for our states,” said Dustin White, project coordinator for Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition (OVEC) and resident of Charleston, WV. “In reality, this is a deadly game where out-of-state companies profit while the rest of us lose a chance at a healthier, more sustainable future.

“When it comes to the health and economy of our region, coal companies dug the graves, fracking companies built the casket and now petrochemical companies want to put the nails in the lid,” White added. “We deserve better than a continued legacy as a resource colony where workers and communities have to sacrifice themselves for profit.”

“The fact that multiple environmental organizations from many states have come together to stand in solidarity against the petrochemical industry is significant,” said Matt Mehalik, executive director of the Breathe Project. “We believe momentum is building to begin to implement sustainable solutions for our economy such as clean energy and clean technologies that will not harm our air, water and public health.”

As part of the rally and protest, organizations in multiple states have signed on in solidarity to a letter that outlines opposition to the Appalachian Petrochemical Projects. Please see the letter attached. The letter will go out to all elected local, state and federal leaders in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia.

Organizations Standing (and Paddling) Together in Protest:

198 Methods

Allegheny County Clean Air Now

Allegheny Defense Project

Aquashocola/Pohopoco Watershed Conservancy

Beaver County Marcellus Awareness Community

Berks Gas Truth

Better Path Coalition

Beyond Extreme Energy

Breathe Easy Susquehanna County

Breathe Project

Buckeye Environmental Network

Bucks County Concerned Citizens Against Pipelines

Christians For The Mountains

Cleveland Divestment Project

Clean Air Council

Climate Reality Pittsburgh & SWPA

Coalition Against Pilgrim Pipelines

Coalition Against Pilgrim Pipelines New Jersey

Communities First – Sewickley Valley

Doddridge County Watershed Association


Eight Rivers Council

Environmental Health Project

Food & Water Watch


Free the Planet (University of Pittsburgh)

FreshWater Accountability Project

Friends of Buckingham County, Virginia

Greenbelt Climate Network

Juniata Watershed People Before Pipelines

Lancaster Against Pipelines

Local Authority Western PA (LAWPA)

Marcellus Outreach Butler

Marcellus Protest (Pittsburgh)

Marshall University Native American Student Organization

Mountain Lakes Preservation Alliance

Mountain Watershed Association

Network for Oil and Gas Accountability (NEOGAP)


Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition

Oil Change International

People Concerned About Chemical Safety



Project CoffeeHouse

Pennsylvania Alliance for Clean Water and Air


Responsible Drilling Alliance (RDA)

Sane Energy Project

Save the Pine Bush (Albany, NY)

South Coast Neighbors United


Sustainable Medina County

Three Rivers Rising Tide

Virginia Interfaith Power & Light

West Virginia Chapter of Sierra Club

Women for a Healthy Environment

Women Speak Out for Peace and Justice


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