Another step is being made to bring in a multi-billion dollar ethane cracker plant to Belmont County. The plant would create jobs and improve our local economy.
The Ohio EPA held a public meeting Thursday night at Shadyside High School to discuss the application of a water permit, submitted by PTT Global Chemical.
The meeting started with EPA officials detailing the environmental plans for the proposed plant and fielded questions from the audience.
When asked what is the worst thing that has ever happened to the environment, when it comes to plants like these, the EPA said they have no record of any devastation in the more than a dozen similar projects they have been involved in.
“We want to have economic development, but we’re here to make sure that the environment is protected in the process,” said Heidi Griemer, Deputy Director of Communication, Ohio EPA.
Once the question and answers session wrapped up they went on the record with a court reporter taking testimony from the public.
During that time a number of people stood up and spoke in support of the plant coming to the area and for the EPA to approve their permits.
“I’m here tonight on behalf of the 15,000 members that local 18 represents, here in Ohio, in support of PTT America’s petrochemical complex proposed for Dillies Bottom,” said Richard Dalton, Business Manager, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 18.
The sheer number of jobs the project is set to bring for the construction alone is impressive and union leaders are looking to hire as many locals as they can bring as least people from outside as possible.
“I’ve been a business rep for 13 years. I’ve been in my trade for 25 and there hasn’t been a job around here that’s had 5,000 people employed at its peak, so it’s going to be pretty impressive, it’ll be like it’s own little city once it all gets going,” said Scott Mazzulli, Vice President, Upper Ohio Valley Building Trades.
Belmont County Commissioner, Matt Coffland said the investment would be historic.
“This is a game changer, this is between a $5 and $6 billion investment in our area, I believe it may be the biggest investment in the state of Ohio ever,” said Commissioner Coffland.
Officials in Belmont County remain optimistic for what the near future will bring.
“I feel very confident that this project, as it continues to move forward, will result in good news sometime next year,” said Larry Merry, Director of the Belmont County Port Authority.