Taking a lead in environmental safeguards

It seems very likely construction of the proposed PTT Global Chemical ethane cracker plant will proceed at Dilles Bottom. If so, it will open a door of opportunity for many in the Ohio Valley.

In addition, it will be an opportunity to get environmental protection right — in the minds of those highly skeptical on the matter.

Last week, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency issued a permit-to-install regarding air emissions from the plant. Approval followed intensive study of plans for the plant.

Public hearings held by the OEPA and other agencies revealed a substantial amount of concern about the plant’s effects on air and water quality. Some fear it will be hazardous to the health of local residents.

Given our industrial heritage in the Tri-State Area, that is no surprise. For generations, steel mills and other industries here were virtually unfettered in pumping pollutants into the air and water. Too many people remember having to roll up car windows when passing through Benwood, even in the summertime, for that not to be a factor.

But that was a very different time. Now, virtually everyone recognizes the importance of air, water and soil protected against dangerous pollutants. State and federal laws mandate such protection.

OEPA officials assure us their review of PTT’s plans has been exhaustive. The cracker venture will be required to adhere to strict limits and controls. They will be enforced.

Good. We know it is possible to produce what modern society demands in an environmentally sound manner. Doing so is not optional.

Officials at the OEPA have released detailed plans for monitoring emissions from the cracker plant. They, along with the limits being enforced, are safeguards against dangerous pollution of the type critics warn against.

It can be done. We can have economic progress and a clean environment at the same time.

The PTT cracker plant will be a demonstration of that — right here in the Ohio Valley.

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