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During the Legislative Session, E-Council lobbyists and member groups were keeping an eye on legislation that would support a proposed regional build-out of a colossal petrochemical complex in the Ohio River Valley region.
This proposal is sometimes called the Appalachian Storage Hub (ASH), and its output would primarily be single-use plastics, as well as other petroleum byproducts.
If built, the infrastructure would flank the Ohio River for nearly 400 miles and affect more than 50 counties in West Virginia, eastern Ohio, eastern Kentucky, and western Pennsylvania, endangering drinking water for about five million people who rely on the Ohio River for their public water intake.
It is not only our drinking water that is at stake. The feedstock for the proposed petrochemical buildout would come from a massive increase in regional fracking, which is already taking a toll in many ways on our communities. The infrastructure associated with ASH (“cracker” plants, fractionators, pipelines and underground storage for highly volatile liquid natural gas, and more) would further pollute the air, especially in valleys that are already prone to unhealthy air inversions. Regional greenhouse gas emissions would also spike.
To try to entice the polluting industries to come here, government officials have been writing and passing laws to allow more pollution and more tax breaks for multinational corporations, making backroom deals that the public can’t get any information about, and trying to sell, sell, sell us on how wonderful this will be for our future.
WVEC member group OVEC (the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition) is in the midst of a campaign of resistance to this petrochemical buildout called Let’s Kick ASH. We are clear on this: A petrochemical hub is not in our best interests and will not bring greater long-term prosperity to our region. More fracking, more fracking-related impacts on our communities, more toxic-spewing factories, more cancer, more air and water pollution, more tax breaks for multinational corporations… That is definitely not the future we want.
We want to change the narrative around here (you know the narrative: we can either have a clean environment or jobs, but not both) and we want to build a better vision, a better reality for our region. Find out more and get involved to Kick ASH: contact us at ohvec.org or 304-522-0246.