When combating a major threat like a massive petrochemical build-up in the Ohio River Valley, there is strength in numbers. One way to build that strength is by working in a coalition—which is why OVEC joined the People Over Petro Coalition (POPCO).
Officially formed in October 2019, POPCO is composed of grassroots and national groups, as well as individuals, who are working to stop the proposed Appalachian Storage and Trading Hub. Our coalition supports a wide range of campaigns targeting petrochemical expansion. As part of this effort, we work to highlight the impacts of the pollution and plastic waste that would be created by this petrochemical complex, while also promoting healthy and safe economic alternatives and union jobs for communities in Appalachia. The coalition also stands in solidarity with other communities across the U.S., such as the Gulf South, that are affected by similar infrastructure.
The coalition is guided by the Theory of Change and Guiding Principles of PA Sierra Club Chapter, the Jemez Principles, and the Climate Justice Alliance’s Just Transition Principles. According to these principles, POPCO’s work will not perpetuate economic and racial inequalities, health and environmental burdens, disrespect of Indigenous land rights, or disinvestment in marginalized communities.
Over the past year, we have been working hard to create effective community-led strategies and campaigns to resist the petrochemical infrastructure, such as our new A-Z Impacts of Plastics Digital Series, and to develop ideas for economic alternatives to the petrochemical industry.
The coalition has also been developing our leadership, and we are excited to announce that POPCO now has a steering committee made of two democratically-elected residents from each of the three primary states currently represented by the coalition, including WV, PA, and OH, with opportunities to add additional representatives as the coalition continues to grow. POPCO’s first steering committee members:
- Mary Aguilera – Ohio Poor People’s Campaign
- Cheryl Johncox – Ohio Sierra Club
- Josh Eisenfeld – Fair Shake Environmental Legal Services
- Ashley Funk – Mountain Watershed Association
- BJ McManama – Indigenous Environmental Network
- Dustin White – OVEC
We hope you will join OVEC and our allies in our effort to create a better future for the Appalachian region. If you would like to get involved with POPCO, visit our website for more information or to join the coalition, and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.