Official Optimism Is Promising Sign

Good things come to those who wait, it has been said. Surely, then, something very good is coming to our area. We certainly have been waiting long enough for it.

Yes, we are referring to the proposed ethane cracker plant that may be built at Dilles Bottom, in Belmont County.

If constructed, the facility could be an enormous boost to the East Ohio and Northern Panhandle economy. It could consume a substantial amount of ethane from area gas wells. Its products could be used in various types of manufacturing, which means the few hundred permanent jobs at the cracker itself could be just the beginning.

But the proposed cracker plant has been just that, only a proposal, for years — though its developer, PTT Global Chemical of Thailand, has spent an enormous amount of money on preliminary work.

Things may be about to accelerate.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich has scheduled an announcement for today to reveal a new “major international partner” in the cracker project. That would be the second important development this year. In January, a South Korean firm agreed to work with PTT on the local facility.

There is another reason for optimism, however, and it sometimes does not receive appropriate notice. It is that both local and state government officials have put an enormous amount of work into paving the way for the cracker — and that dedication to the project does not seem to have flagged. Kasich himself remarked earlier this year that he had “been on the phone with these folks …”

Continuing optimism by public officials from Kasich on down to the local level is, perhaps, the most encouraging signal of all that the cracker will become a reality.

We look forward, then, to hearing what the governor has to say today. At some point, we hope, area residents’ patience will pay off.