Reform Increases Prospect of Cracker

Many area residents have had their fingers crossed for so many months that we wonder whether there is a possibility of permanent damage to their hands.

Just kidding, but you probably know where we’re headed: the ethane cracker plant.

Prospects for PTT Global Chemical to build the plant in eastern Belmont County have appeared excellent for a long time. That is the trouble, however. Many in East Ohio and the Northern Panhandle have become so accustomed to economic development disappointments that lack of a final decision on the cracker has caused concern.

Not to worry, Ohio Gov. John Kasich is assuring us. During a press event last week, he emphasized, “You just have to wait. These things are complicated.”

Kasich added he is working to ensure PTT comes to Ohio. “I’ve been on the phone with these folks. What I tell them is, ‘Decide. Not being in the U.S. is crazy.”

Precisely.

For several reasons, including our region’s abundant supply of cheap natural gas, Belmont County makes sense as a cracker plant site. But during the past several weeks, events have made the decision even easier.

Tax and regulatory reform under President Donald Trump’s administration have made the United States more attractive for economic development than has been the case for decades. The bottom line is that a cracker plant here should be cheaper to build and operate — and more profitable — than PTT officials expected when they began considering the facility.

So yes, please: Make a decision. Area residents now have more reason to believe it will be what we have been hoping for.

COMMENTS