Last Friday, DeSmog Blog reported on an “an industry conference focused on wooing petrochemical producers to West Virginia.” The article explained:
Why should petrochemical companies build in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio? For one thing, don’t expect regulation of shale gas drilling, Michael Graney, executive director of the West Virginia Development Office, predicted in his presentation.
“Contrasted to other U.S. regions, Tri-State region is industry-supportive and industry-friendly,” read a slide that Graney, who was appointed by West Virginia Governor Jim Justice in September 2018, presented to the conference. “Virtually no risk of drilling restrictions.”
(Emphasis is mine.) I guess Graney should score honesty points for being publicly upfront about how West Virginia doesn’t regulate fracking. Similar to the state's dealings with the coal industry, however, Graney's words show no concern for the state's inhabitants -- it's whatever the industry wants.
There was opposition:
Meanwhile, outside the conference, Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition Project Coordinator Dustin White spoke to a rally organized in opposition to the petrochemical industry’s plans for the region, The Dominion Post reported.
“They scream jobs and like a carrot on a stick, and politicians chase them,” White said.
“The [Appalachian Storage Hub] scheme is an unimaginative regression to 1950s era economic development,” White said in a statement. “Why can’t we have real innovation?”
“It is of upmost importance that people see these current and proposed petrochemical projects in Appalachia for what they are: a scheme that the oil and gas companies are using to bail themselves out of debt,” said Bridgeport, Ohio, resident, Bev Reed, who also attended the rally and lives near the site of a proposed plastic factory. “The tide needs to shift to alternatives to plastic, rather than creating more.”
I’m sure we are not far away (we never are) from yet another industry op-ed and/or editorial in our local Ogden “newspapers” praising the state for its support of this virtually unregulated industry.