CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state Department of Environmental Protection announced Monday its Office of Environmental Remediation has accepted a Voluntary Remediation Program application from the company working toward developing an ethane cracker plant near Washington in Wood County.

Ascent, the Appalachian Shale Cracker Enterprise, is working with the DEP to identify “human health and ecological risks associated with current and potential future uses of the site, establish applicable remediation standards, and ensure that standards are maintained at the site. Upon completion of the remediation, a final report will be submitted to OER for review and approval,” the DEP said in a news release.

Ascent, a subsidiary of Odebrecht, announced plans for an ethane cracker plant last November. It could create hundreds of construction jobs. Once online it will be a key project in the state’s Marcellus shale natural gas industry.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said back in March he hoped to see some construction on the cracker plant by the first quarter of 2015.

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Comments

  • Mark Chesler

    …In a June 26, 1994, Cleveland Plain Dealer article entitled Environmentalists Leery of Possible Loopholes, Chris Trepal, co-director of the Earth Day Coalition in Northeast Ohio, lambasted the enabling VAP legislation as “one of the poorest public policy measures I’ve ever seen.” A clairvoyant Richard Sahli, executive director of the Ohio Environmental Council, echoed his sentiment in the May 26, 1994, Cincinnati Post, “We do predict there will be a lot of shoddy cleanups under this bill the state will never catch.” Testifying before the House Energy & Natural Resources Committee on behalf of the Ohio Academy of Trial Lawyers, Cincinnati environmental lawyer David Altman asserted, “This bill is a definite bait-and-switch. What it is supposed to do and what it does is two different things.”

    A seminal, 152 page 2001 Gund Foundation funded study by the Green Environmental Council confirmed the critics’ predictions. A dearth of agency resources to provide meaningful regulatory oversight combined with the lack of a credible, established enforcement mechanism has rendered the feckless, industry aligned program toothless. “It’s a broken program – it doesn’t work,” declared the council’s Bruce Cornett in an interview with the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Both the Sierra Club and Ohio Citizen Action opposed the 2000 $400 million Clean Ohio state bond issue out of concern the fungible proceeds could be utilized to prop up the lame Voluntary Action Program and create a trojan horse polluters slush fund. “This is the governor’s attempt to whitewash his EPA,” charged Jane Forrest Redfern, environmental projects director for Ohio Citizen Action in a November 1, 2000, Cleveland Plain Dealer article. Dedicated professionals, veteran Ohio EPA bureaucrats attempted to rectify the problem. According to the October 4, 2000, Cleveland Plain Dealer, “EPA staffers who shared some of the environmentalists’ concerns, at one point launched a quiet but unsuccessful campaign to disband the program.”

    For six years after the Voluntary Action Program’s 1996 implementation, the U.S. EPA refused to extend program participants federal immunity and threatened to decertify the Ohio EPA due to the VAP’s expansive, inhibiting secrecy provisions and tangible lack of transparency. In a brokered, bifurcated modification to the Ohio VAP that “frankly doesn’t make sense at all,” according to Ohio Public Interest Research Group director Amy Simpson (Akron Beacon Journal, February 24, 2001), an alternative “memorandum of agreement” VAP track with enhanced public access was crafted. Companies that elect the original, opaque, “classic” option, which conceals under an embargo the extent and nature of contamination, will not be afforded U.S. EPA liability insulation. “Why Ohio would want a two-headed monster is beyond me,” quipped the Ohio Environmental Council’s Jack Shaner. In SCA’s case, the jaundiced, green and incompliant wants to hide what you can’t see.

    Mark Chesler
    Oberlin, Ohio

    http://www.loraincounty.com/oberlin/discussion.shtml?id=260067&f=62&v=

  • Guardian

    Pleased to see this moving along. Besides the cracker itself, there is huge potential for downstream jobs associated with the Ethylene production coming off the cracker. Ethylene consumers tend to build close to the source of the raw material.

  • Dave. Just Dave

    Somehow, some way, Obama and his EPA will do something somewhere that will totally derail this project.

  • Randy

    All this talk about crackers. Will all this racism against whitey never end?

  • ViennaGuy

    Let's keep the momentum rolling!