Faith leaders discuss “non-negotiables” for proposed ethane cracker plant

Community

BELMONT COUNTY, Ohio (WTRF) – A great deal of excitement and anticipation surrounds the proposed ethane cracker plant in Belmont County.

However, there are some residents on both sides of the Ohio River who are raising a red flag ahead of the possible arrival.

The Ohio Valley Interfaith Consortium met Tuesday to discuss their concerns and some of them are “non-negotiable” in their book.

Breathable air and drinkable water is their main concern but with the advancement of technology, faith leaders believe both are feasible.

But we feel like we can have both jobs for people in this area and breathable air and drinkable water. We don’t feel it’s an “either/or,” but it’s a “both/and,” and that’s one of our hopes.

Rev. Seth Filbum, Lincoln Ave. United Methodist Church

Although the arrival of the cracker plant is expected to bring hundreds of jobs to the area, faith leaders are turning their attention to community health and safety.

We’re going to be doing some air monitoring in the Valley just to check the baseline air data because the EPA isn’t doing that.

Bev Reed, Concerned Ohio River Residents

There are also a concerns for the effects on local schools, housing and crime.

We’ve seen rents triple for ordinary people because of the oil and gas boom. So, what’s gonna happen when 10,000 construction workers come to these small communities? Will it be man-camps, basically? Trailer camps — bars and brothels?

Rev. Bill Meyer, St. John’s United Church of Christ

No decision regarding the proposed ethane cracker plant has been announced at this time.

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