Activists who held an online information forum on the gas refinery project at Newport Twp on Thursday. recognized that there are many more questions than answers so far.
They asked those affected to continue asking questions throughout the process — of elected officials and business representatives.
Among the unanswered questions are how the plant will be powered, whether new pipelines will be needed and where, exactly, the plant will be built, they said.
All stakeholders agreed that the plant would be polluting, a fact they say negates the job creation and economic impact promised.
“People are never told what’s coming and what problems it will cause,” organizer Scott Cannon, from Plymouth, told the roughly 80 people who logged into the online forum.
Cannon opened the forum by showing videos he produced about issues he says have plagued the gas industry locally, including a compressor station in Monroe Twp., Wyoming County. Residents complained of unbearable noise and mysterious illnesses, which led to an unspecified legal settlement, he said.
Cannon noted Monroe Township. The station was on two acres while the proposed $6 billion gasoline-powered natural gas plant at Newport Twp. is estimated at 3,000 acres.
Susan Volz of the Clean Air Council said the Houston-based company Nacero plans to build multiple identical plants across the country and has already outlined its plans for a Texas facility and its projected pollution output in applications. of permits.
“There’s a lot we don’t know about the Luzerne refinery because they didn’t file those permits,” Volz said. “If it’s at all similar, the Alfalfa facility would be one of the highest sources of air pollution and greenhouse gases in Pennsylvania.”
Nacero has not yet applied for an air quality permit from Pennsylvania state regulators. But a plant in Nacero, Texas, which company officials say would be nearly identical to the one planned for Newport Twp. would emit 2.9 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, according to a report by a company consultant.
Just seven Pennsylvania facilities produced more than 2.9 million tons of carbon dioxide in 2020, according to data from the state Department of Environmental Protection.
The Texas Nacero plant could emit up to 5.7 million tons per year under a state-issued air quality permit, an amount that “represents the worst-case operating scenario with production maximum,” according to a spokeswoman for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
If the Pennsylvania plant were to emit that much carbon dioxide, it would rank third in the state for emissions.
Dr. Barbara Brandon, a retired anesthesiologist who is a member of Concerns Health Professionals of Pennsylvania, said there are “cradle-to-grave” negative effects of living near a refinery — even miles away.
“It’s pretty scary,” Brandon said. “Air takes toxins.”
Local elected officials presented the proposed plant as a unique and climate-friendly investment.
Nacero estimates the township of Newport. the plant will create 3,500 to 4,000 construction jobs and up to 530 permanent jobs when the plant operates at full capacity.
DAVE JANOSKIeditor, contributed to this report.