“If we don’t have the ethane in the natural gas, there’s no chemical industry, if there’s no chemical industry, we don’t have manufacturing in the United States,” said Kevin DiGregorio, executive director of the Chemical Alliance Zone, in a recent interview with West Virginia’s State Journal.
Ethylene is a valuable chemical that is used to make a variety of everyday materials, including plastics. The Chemical Alliance Zone and a number of other interest groups are banding together to raise awareness about the importance of ethylene — it’s role in creating products that improve our everyday lives, in boosting local and regional economies, and in strengthening the broader manufacturing industry in the United States.
West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania are each vying for the opportunity to build new ethane cracker facility in their state to take advantage of the unique economic benefits a petrochemicals facility of that size and capacity could bring to the struggling region, including new jobs in the chemical, manufacturing and goods and services industries.
While DiGregorio is optimistic about his state’s chances for landing the cracker, he said the broader benefits would be felt across the Appalachia region, no matter the actual facility location:
You’re going to see the whole region benefit. It’s not going to be just a West Virginia play. If we get five crackers tomorrow, if that would happen and they were all in West Virginia, you would still see business go up in Ohio and in Pennsylvania.
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