House to Debate Amendment With Big Implications for Expanding Petrochemical Industry

June 13, 2019

A recent Congressional amendment, which backers say will soon reach the House floor for debate, could have major ramifications for the petrochemical industry’s plan to move into the Ohio River Valley and start manufacturing plastics and chemicals in Appalachia. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is currently considering extending $1.9 billion in federal loan guarantees to the Appalachia Development Group, which submitted an application for loan guarantees through the DOE’s Title 17 Loan Guarantee Program in 2017. The Appalachia Development Group would use that loan guarantee to build a $3.4 billion storage hub that could store over 10 million barrels of so-called natural gas liquids (NGLs), which can be used to make plastics and petrochemicals and are in high supply due to fracking in the nearby Marcellus and Utica Shales. Green groups supporting the amendment say that those DOE loan guarantees are meant for energy projects — specifically those that cut down on greenhouse gas emissions — not for the petrochemical industry. Petrochemical Expansion Prospects The impacts if the amendment becomes law could be significant for Appalachia Development Group, all NGL storage hub builders, and, by extension, anyone who wants to build a plastics manufacturing plant in the region — as well as for the climate.

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