Plastics industry a bad
deal for West Virginians
Rebecca McPhail of the West Virginia Manufacturers Association (DP-Sunday) touted development of a proposed Appalachian Storage Hub (ASH) for natural gas, and a plastics industry in West Virginia, but never mentioned the most serious problems.
In 2015, almost every nation on Earth signed the Paris Climate Agreement, committing these nations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to keep global warming below 2 C. Most scientific organizations agree this means we must drastically reduce use of fossil fuels. The world must reduce emissions from fossil fuels by 50% within 10 years, and almost quit fossil fuels within 30 years.
Construction of a large plastics industry is fundamentally incompatible with that goal. Yet none of the ASH proponents will discuss this issue, or even admit it’s real. None of the major investors in the ASH or proposed plastics plants include greenhouse gas mitigation in their business plans.
Most state political leaders advocate federal subsidies to help build the ASH. But no one will talk about the greenhouse gas issue, or even plan for it.
Plastics plants create more demand for fracking and natural gas wells, pipelines and related facilities. These all emit methane, and some emit a lot. Methane is 84 times more effective at capturing heat than carbon dioxide (over a 20-year life span).
Ethane crackers also use tremendous amounts of electricity, most of which is expected to come from fossil fuels. It’s expected that the plastics industry will account for one-sixth of all greenhouse gas emissions worldwide by 2050.
Most importantly, investments in fossil fuel infrastructure slow the transition to sustainable, renewable energy sources.
McPhail did acknowledge worldwide opposition to more plastics littering the landscape, but proposed nothing to increase, or mandate, plastics recycling. She also failed to discuss air pollution from such facilities, and the host of adverse health impacts they cause.
We urge West Virginians to contact our congressional delegation, and ask them to oppose federal subsidies for the ASH. Until that industry addresses greenhouse gas pollution, eliminates all emissions of toxins and carcinogens, and accepts its responsibility to recycle plastics, a new plastics industry is a bad deal for West Virginia.
West Virginia Chapter of Sierra Club
ICE raids cause for fear,
shame and disbelief
Immigration and Customs Enforcement came to Morgantown recently. Its raids led to the incarceration of men who were, in some cases, rounded up during their work shifts. Yes, their work shifts.
Our economy is dependent on migrants. A report of the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine showed that an immigrant contributes way more to the economy than he or she takes from government sponsored programs. A recent NPR piece revealed that there are brutal, dangerous, manual jobs that only immigrants would do. Employers can’t find American citizens willing to dismember chickens, pick oranges and clean toilets. I wonder: how can you call yourself “pro-business” but still be OK with this administration’s racist and xenophobic immigration policy?
I also wonder: how can you call yourself “pro-life,” be a supporter of legislation restricting abortion, be adamant that life starts at conception, and still be OK with children held in cages without proper food, care, loving support and finally dying because of neglect? Twenty-four immigrants, and among them seven children, have died in what are effectively concentration camps.
Migrants, children included, are held for several weeks, sleeping on the floor in unhygienic conditions without access to basic toiletries or flu shots, despite the impending flu season. Family separations are still ongoing and the Trump administration has proposed to extend them to be able to hold children indefinitely.
I’m a member of the immigrant community here in Morgantown. I moved here from Europe. And I was overcome by fear, disbelief and shame when I heard about ICE’s actions here in Morgantown recently.
Martina A. Caretta