Nora Johnson – 8/3/18


This page was last updated on August 17, 2018.

Shell cracker plant will bring pollutants; Nora Johnson (NJ); Beaver County Times; August 3, 2018.

Below is a review of the subject letter.

“A sign outside the Vanport Township Hot Dog Shoppe says, ‘The secret of freedom is courage.’  I would add ‘honesty’ so that it would read, ‘The secret of freedom is honesty and courage.’

“Many hope that the ethane cracker plant being built in Potter Township will bring prosperity to Beaver County, and it takes courage to disagree.  Why question Shell Chemicals’ promise that 600 permanent jobs will be created, and that the spinoff from those jobs as well as the construction jobs will lift Beaver County into prosperity?”

[RWC] When announced a couple of years ago, I was surprised the estimate of “600 permanent jobs will be created” was so low.

“The first reason to question Shell’s claims is people’s health.  Shell itself tells us that its emissions will include annually 1,012 tons of carbon monoxide, 159 tons of fine particulates, 522 tons of volatile organic compounds and 2.25 million tons of carbon dioxide.  People are going to get sick, especially children, smokers, and elderly people.  More people will have asthma and other lung diseases.  There will be more heart attacks and cancers of all kinds.”

[RWC] NJ didn’t cite the sources she used to support her health assertions.

“Second, this region can present itself as a beautiful place to be, live and work.  But with such pollutants relentlessly billowing from the south bank of the Ohio River, that claim will be empty.”

[RWC] Does NJ know Nova Chemicals has “a chemical plant” adjacent to the Shell property and it’s been in operation since 1942?

“Finally, the promised jobs are so few.  There are better ways to encourage job production than giving a huge international polluter $1.65 billion in tax breaks.”

[RWC] I don’t like so-called tax breaks.  The problem is everyone likes to tax businesses until the cows come home, then those same people wonder why new businesses don’t view PA favorably.  Get rid of so-called “business taxes” and tax breaks go away.

Though I haven’t seen it mentioned, building a facility of this size is vastly more expensive in this area than the Gulf Coast.  Many of us saw the huge amount of earthmoving required just to make the property ready for the cracker’s construction.  I lived in the Houston area for nearly 20 years.  If the plant were to be built on the Gulf Coast, the builder would find a flat parcel (As we saw once again with the 2017 hurricanes, the whole area is flat.) and send a few bulldozers to knock down groundcover (mostly brush and pine trees) and burn it onsite.

NJ wrote, “There are better ways to encourage job production …” but didn’t mention any.

“Go look at the sign outside the Hot Dog Shoppe.  Think about courage and honesty, and about freedom.”

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