Clearing the Way For PTT Facility
Ohio Environmental Protection Agency officials work hard to walk the fine line between safeguarding air, water and soil quality and responsibility to the state’s economy. As many area residents are aware, the U.S. EPA often seems less interested in preserving jobs.
Throughout East Ohio and the Northern Panhandle, the most exciting news we have heard in years was the announcement PTT Global Chemical America was interesting in building an ethane cracker plant in Belmont County. If the facility is constructed, it will provide a much-needed shot in the local economy’s arm.
PTT has not yet finalized the plan, but reports on it are very encouraging.
One step in the process is a state EPA public hearing on what effect the plant would have on water quality, especially in the Ohio River. The hearing is scheduled for 6 p.m. Sept. 15 at Shadyside High School.
Strict state and federal regulations exist regarding any discharges into streams. Anyone who remembers the Ohio River several decades ago understands the need for such rules.
PTT seems eager to comply. “We are working with the Ohio EPA to ensure the health of the air and water of the surrounding community,” a company spokesman told our reporter.
So far, so good. With that kind of attitude, the OEPA’s permitting process should proceed without a hitch.
Unfortunately, there is a “but” to that. It is the federal EPA and, perhaps, other agencies among those President Barack Obama’s administration has used to harm the domestic energy industry. To this White House, how state regulatory agencies handle the coal, natural gas and oil industries is of no consequence. The vendetta against fossil fuels must be pursued, in Obama’s mind.
Should the OEPA grant permits needed by PTT, only to have the federal government erect new obstacles, Ohio’s members of Congress — joined by many others sick and tired of assaults on job-creating industries, should intervene. Enough is enough.