Washington, D.C.– Nearly 150 groups from across the country submitted a letter to House Appropriations Committee Chair Nita Lowey today, urging her and fellow Democrats to deny a $1.9 billion loan guarantee from the Energy Department that would finance a massive, ill-advised petrochemical processing and storage facility in Appalachia. The committee is likely to consider the Energy Department’s FY 2020 budget next week.
Organized by the national advocacy group Food & Water Watch, the letter was signed by groups including 350.org, Friends of the Earth, Center for Biological Diversity and Oil Change U.S. Additionally, many local groups from Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and West Virginia – the states most directly impacted by the potential project – signed the letter.
In part, the letter states: “The Storage Hub and its associated infrastructure will pose serious public health and environmental risks to the region and the federal government should not facilitate this potential damage with a federal loan guarantee. It would be irresponsible to use taxpayer dollars to support building out more fossil fuel-related infrastructure at a time we should be investing in renewable energy infrastructure.”
The letter also calls into question the legality of the proposed loan guarantee, stating: “It appears that the use of Department of Energy loan guarantees for this Storage Hub project does not meet the required criteria... because Title XVII loan guarantees are designed to fund energy projects that ‘avoid, reduce or sequester air pollutants or anthropogenic [human-caused] emissions of greenhouse gases.’” The proposed storage hub would almost certainly contribute to, not “avoid, reduce or sequester” greenhouse gas emissions if completed.
“At a time when we need to be rapidly transitioning off fossil fuels and on to a clean, renewable energy economy, this proposed petrochemical buildout would only dig us deeper into the hole of drilling, fracking, pollution, cancer and climate chaos,” said Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter. “As plastic waste increasingly litters our lands and seas, and even poisons the water we drink, the last thing we need from House Democrats is to be encouraging more dangerous plastics production in America.”
“The Appalachian Storage Hub would be a significant risk to our air, water, and public health, and threaten the future economic prosperity of communities along the Ohio River. Our public officials should be making choices to invest in clean sources of energy like solar, wind, hydropower and energy efficiency strategies,” said Michele Fetting, Program Manager at the Breathe Project. “We expect a higher standard of performance in decision making.”
Contact: Seth Gladstone - sgladstone[at]fwwatch[dot]org, 917.363.6615