Commissioners Sign Resolution Seeking Local Cracker Plant in N. Panhandle

by Dee Fulton on July 27, 2011

The Wetzel Chronicle reported today that a press conference was held to announce that county commissioners from six Northern Panhandle counties had signed a joint resolution to bring an ethane cracker plant to that panhandle.  Commissioners from Ohio, Tyler, Wetzel, Marshall, Brooke and Hancock counties signed a joint resolution committing to “secure maximum investment for this region of West Virginia to the absolute best of their ability.”   Bayer Corp. has land and facilities at Institute, WV, near Charleston, and at New Martinsville in Wetzel County, and has previously expressed interest in participating in the development of a cracker plant.  The commissioners are concerned that a cracker plant would be built at Institute rather than in the panhandle where the gas is rich in ethane, the raw product converted to ethylene at a cracker plant.

From the Chronicle, “State Sen. Orphy Klempa, D-Ohio, later commended the commissioners for supporting the Northern Panhandle’s natural gas business. “We are in the area of the so-called ‘wet gas,’“ he said. “The Northern Panhandle should be rewarded for having the gas extracted here.” However, Corky DeMarco, executive director of the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association, hopes more than one cracker will come to the state. “ I hate to see this become some sort of north-south struggle,” he noted. “We have plenty of room for two or more crackers here.”

In other news from the Northern Panhandle, the Weirton Daily Times reported on July 20 that the Wellsburg City Council had voted on a first  reading to repeal the ban on fracking within the city limits and one mile beyond following the governor’s announcement of emergency rules going into effect.  Chesapeake Energy had threatened a legal challenge to the ban.

Scott Rotruck, Vice President for Corporate Development for Chesapeake Energy, has stated to FrackCheckWV that the pledge for band funding to the Wellsburg Middle School (Brooke Co.) will be honored conditional upon the Wellsburg City Council voting on the second reading on August 9 to repeal the ban.

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