Government and industry officials see big things ahead in plastics and petrochemicals for the Appalachian region of the United States.
U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito and Joe Manchin and U.S. Representative David McKinley — all from West Virginia — met with reporters on May 18 in Washington to mark the release of a new report about Appalachia's potential from the American Chemistry Council. ACC President and CEO Cal Dooley also took part in the event.
"Energy and manufacturing are critical to growth in our state," Capito said. "With the Marcellus, Utica and Rogersville shale deposits, we have plenty of resources, and we want to keep the value of those resources in our region."
"This is a game changer for us," Manchin added. "It's a real field of dreams — build it and they shall come."
Capito, Manchin and U.S. Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio have introduced an act to assess the benefits of building an underground ethane storage and distribution hub in central Appalachia. Ethane is derived from natural gas and can be converted into plastics feedstock ethylene.
Manchin and Capito also have sent a letter to Gary Cohn, director of the National Economic Council, encouraging him to examine the benefits of the storage hub.