In December, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency issued an air pollution permit to a proposed cracker plant in Belmont County. Cracker plants use intense heat to “crack” the natural gas liquid ethane into ethylene, a raw material for plastics manufacturing.
If the two South Asian companies behind the $10 billion project proceed, the cracker plant would be roughly 65 miles away from Royal Dutch Shell’s ethane cracker in Beaver County, Penn., currently under construction.
On Jan. 18, the Sierra Club, the Center for Biological Diversity and several other environmental organizations filed an appeal with the Ohio EPA to have the Ohio cracker plant’s permit thrown out. “These plants will contaminate Ohio River Valley communities just to create more plastic pollution,” said Lauren Packard with the Center for Biological Diversity.
On Dec. 20, Pennsylvania regulators approved water permits for the proposed 97-mile Falcon Ethane Pipeline, allowing tree-felling to begin along the pipeline’s path through the state. Falcon, which would feed Shell’s ethane cracker, still needs approval from Ohio, West Virginia and federal regulators.