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As Industry Pushes Billion-Dollar Fracked Petrochemical Projects, State Regulators Struggle To Keep Up

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Source:  desmogblog

“Pollution from petrochemicals is already a major issue, Food and Water Watch noted in a report last year on the coming build-out. “In 1999, when Houston’s ozone levels were the highest in the nation, the state of Texas conducted several studies that found large industrial leaks,” that report found. “The worst originated from cracker plants producing ethylene and propylene.”

By Sharon Kelly

Fueled by fracking in the region, petrochemical and plastics projects in the Ohio River Valley are attracting tens of billions of dollars in investment, but as plans for this build-out hit the drawing boards, signs already are emerging that state regulators are unprepared for this next wave of industrialization. And the implications of their inexperience could mean major threats to the region’s health and environment.

One of the projects currently underway, an underground natural gas liquids (NLG) storage site — designed to support the construction of several huge petrochemical complexes — is undergoing review by state regulators who have little experience with NGL storage facilities of its size.

“We had to juggle a lot of regulatory input in a relatively undefined setting since there are few regulations in Ohio, and that really goes for Pennsylvania and West Virginia as well,” Jonathan Farrell, a project manager with Civil and Environmental Consultants, told attendees at a petrochemical industry conference on June 18.

That lack of well-established state regulations harkens back to the early days of the shale gas rush, when state regulators struggled to keep up with the emergence of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and horizontal drilling technologies. The rush to drill while safeguards were still being designed and implemented led to inadequately treated toxic waste being dumped into drinking water supplies for millions of people and problems with radioactive waste that continue to this day.

Dreams of a New Petrochemical Corridor

Shell’s ethane cracker petrochemical plant under construction on the banks of the Ohio River. Credit: Ashley Braun, DeSmog

Today, the petrochemical industry is dreaming big about prospects for manufacturing plastics, styrofoam, vinyl, chemicals, and fertilizers from cheap ethane and other natural gas liquids from the Marcellus Shale — marketed as currently the cheapest in the world.

The goal? To build a new petrochemical corridor in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, and the surrounding region, one second only in size to the Gulf Coast’s — and one that could bring along with it the public health and environmental impacts that have given rise to that region’s reputation as a “cancer alley.”

I think the magnitude of some of these projects that we’re talking about here are hard for a lot of us and a lot of our communities to wrap their head around,” Chad Riley, CEO of The Thrasher Group, an oil and gas field and pipeline services firm, said at the June 18-19 conference. “I really think that this region lacks a bit of an understanding about what the potential could be here.”

Fracking for Plastics

Shale drillers in the Marcellus and Utica have long talked up the potential profits to be made from drilling for “wet gas,” or wells that produce large volumes of natural gas liquids like ethane, propane, and butane. Those liquid fossil fuels offer additional sources of revenue, making the shale drilling industry better able to cope with depressed prices for natural gas, which is mostly methane, that the wells primarily produce.

For the shale industry, the need to create demand for those products is fueling the push to create new petrochemical and plastics plants that can buy up the liquids coming from fracked wells. The Appalachian region currently produces roughly a third of the domestic supply of NGLs, or roughly a million barrels a day.  Read the rest of this article HERE.

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Medical Kidnap News: Pennsylvania Civil Rights Attorney Medically Kidnapped for “Mental Health” Evaluation – Whereabouts Unknown

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by Brian Shilhavy
Editor, Health Impact News

Andy Ostrowski was kidnapped by law enforcement from his home in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania this week while live-streaming on Facebook.

Police entered his home without knocking, carrying tasers and clubs, claimed they had a warrant (which they apparently never showed to him) to take him in for a “mental health evaluation,” and proceeded to turn off his computer and remove him from his home by force.

His current whereabouts is unknown at the time of publication.

Here is the recording of the event:

 

Andy Ostrowski at Court House

 

 

Mr. Ostrowski is a former Civil Rights attorney, past candidate for U.S. Congress, author, radio show host, and judicial reform activist.

Andy Ostrowski for Congress

Ostrowski exposes judicial corruption, something we have covered extensively at Health Impact News, particularly on our MedicalKidnap.com website.

Medical kidnapping would be almost impossible without corrupt judges participating.

For more on this topic see:

Retired Arizona Judge Reveals Corruption in Legal System

American Judicial System for Sale: Bribes and Corruption now the Norm

Political Prisoner for Revealing Corruption?

Earlier this year, Ostrowski filed a federal lawsuit in Pennsylvania, naming the “American System of Justice” as a Defendant, along with the Federal Reserve, the Rothschilds, Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, and others who are alleged to have compromised our access to justice, and the loss of basic rights and protections. (Copy here.)

The lawsuit claims that the American System of Justice, as reflected by the Pennsylvania Unified Judicial System, lacks constitutional checks and balances by the other two branches of government, and has failed its self-disciplinary feature, making it impossible to achieve justice in certain cases and classes of cases.  More

TS Radio: Mary Bush and Genevieve’s Nightmare

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Join us Sunday evening September 10, 2017 at 7:00 pm CST!

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Pennsylvanians…The Case For Secession

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Op-Ed:  Submitted by: James P. Harvey

July 10, 2010 by Joseph P. Schiaffino

(Note: How the mighty have fallen! Pennsylvania, the womb of secession, now cozies up to the DC criminals wantonly. The author makes some great points, and is at least thinking thoughts of true liberty. Some of his solutions for secession need a tune-up but one must start where one finds one’s self. Good work, Joseph.)

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A majority of We the People appear to have finally reached the limits of our tolerance of the arrogance emanating from Washington and its elected servants of the People. Perpetual war, profligate spending, bailouts for irresponsible banks and Wall Street fat cats, the takeover of significant parts of our economy such as the auto and banking industries to name but two, and now the near certainty of a federal takeover of our health care system have pushed many of the People to the edge. How can the People fight back and reclaim their government? Let’s list possible options and then assess the prospects for success of each.

We can replace all elected officials; we can proclaim all unconstitutional statutes and mandates null and void in our particular state. We can amend the federal constitution, or we can secede from the union of united States and reclaim our sovereignty as an independent republic.

The first and theoretically easiest solution is to throw the bums out and replace them with new people who will then obey the constraints of the Constitution. The problem is that under our current electoral system which gives artificial entities that do not have the right to vote, like corporations, unlimited power to supply money to both major political parties; those entities exert inordinate power to influence elections. Those same political parties then lavish their money on candidates who will support the agenda of those corporate donors so as to guarantee the continued flow of money to the two major political parties. More

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