Brittany Patterson Published

Environmental Groups Appeal Ohio Cracker Air Quality Permit


A coalition of environmental groups is challenging an air quality permit issued to a proposed petrochemical plant along the Ohio River.

Ohio EPA issued the air quality permit to the PTT Global Chemical America project, proposed for Belmont County, Ohio,  in late December.

The plan, called an ethane cracker, would use high heat to break down 1.5 million tons of ethane each year into smaller molecules used in plastics and chemical manufacturing.

Ethane is brought up during natural gas fracking.

The Sierra Club, Center for Biological Diversity, Earthworks and Freshwater Accountability Project filed an appeal of the air quality permit Friday to the Ohio Environmental Review Appeals Commission.

They argue the state underestimated the amount of pollution the plant will emit should have required more effective technology to reduce those emissions.

The permit would allow the cracker to release almost 400 tons of volatile organic compounds each year and produce the equivalent carbon dioxide emissions of putting about 365,000 cars on the road.

At a public hearing in November, state EPA officials said air quality and public health would not be impacted by the plant. Dozens of local residents and environmental groups testified they had concerns.

The plant would be the second cracker built in the Ohio Valley.