BELMONT COUNTY, Ohio — Just over two months ago, the Ohio EPA issued an air permit for the potential ethane cracker plant in Dilles Bottom.
While many county and state leaders are excited about the plant’s progress, some residents and local environmental organizations are concerned.
"Since they are not dealing with the current situation, adding more contaminants to this is very dangerous,” said Wetzel County resident Marilyn K. Hunt.
Hunt was one of many Ohio Valley residents in the crowd at Tuesday evening's cracker plant opposition meeting.
It was hosted by the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, an organization that has been very vocal in its opposition to the construction of the proposed facility for health reasons.
Also discussed during the meeting was the appeal against the Ohio EPA's issuance of the air permit to PTT Global Chemical (PTTGC) America.
"There were major deficiencies in the modeling that the Ohio EPA relied upon to grant that permit. There were errors in the modeling; there was data that was omitted," said Megan Hunter, a staff attorney for Fair Shake Environmental Legal Services. “We're also concerned about the lack of enforceable terms in some of the standards. We're also concerned about weak control technology that was used.”
The Sierra Club, Center for Biological Diversity, FreshWater Accountability Project, and Earthworks are the four organizations that filed the appeal.
The EPA had previously ensured that the plant will not have an adverse effect on the air, water, or health of the surrounding communities.
At the time, a spokesman for PTTGC called the ruling a critical milestone.
Congressman Bill Johnson was elated by the news, stating, “It is yet another sign of the positive progress being made towards what would be the largest construction project in Ohio history, and a major job creator for our region.”
The appeal was sent to the Environmental Review Appeals Commission, and a hearing is scheduled for October.
In the interim, PTTGC can start construction on the plant, but nothing has officially been announced yet.