We believe in people over profit, and on May 22 members of The Alliance for Appalachia, alongside Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards and Sierra Club, took action for A New Economic Climate. The action was held outside of Wells Fargo bank branches in Norton and Big Stone Gap, Virginia. This statewide day of action demanded accountability from financial institutions that fund fossil fuel projects. Local leaders called on Wells Fargo to support socially responsible investments, to address the need for an equitable economy, and to rescind their financial support of fracked-gas pipelines and other fossil fuel investments.
This action follows up on the recently published Fossil Fuel Report Card, which shows that major banks’ investments in new fossil fuel extraction, infrastructure, and power fly in the face of the clear and urgent need to start a managed decline in the use of fossil fuels.
Capitalism encourages corporations to put profits over people. We believe in people over profits. Alliance members across the region are opposing extreme energy extraction in all forms. Ohio Vally Environmental Coalition and Center for Coalfield Justice, in particular, are opposing a massive new petrochemical and plastics manufacturing hub, dubbed the Appalachian Storage Hub, that’s being proposed along more than 300 miles of the Ohio River, plus nearly 70 miles along the Kanawha River, impacting over 50 counties in West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio and Pennsylvania. It would be fueled by the natural gas boom, processing by-products of natural gas into plastic manufacturing.
While the world is moving away from plastics, some elected leaders in our region are embracing the industry as a false solution to a changing energy landscape.
If built, this petrochemical mega-complex would mean a huge increase of fracking in the Appalachian region, six large pipelines running along the Ohio River, thousands of miles of smaller pipelines, underground storage caverns for natural gas liquids, huge, polluting cracker plants and fractionators, and other infrastructure—all for an end product of plastic. It would cost billions of dollars to construct. All of this infrastructure would be volatile and present human health risks along with locking the region into another toxic fossil fuel dependent boom and bust mono-economy. This Shell Ethane Cracker Plant is just one piece of the mega-complex.
Our mission at the Alliance for Appalachia is to end mountaintop removal coal mining, halt other destructive coal technologies, and to create a sustainable, just Appalachia. While our work as a coalition is centered on addressing the impacts of coal mining and legacy pollution, we recognize that the forces oppressing our communities through extreme coal extraction are the same who are telling us we need natural gas fracking and processing for jobs and a ‘new economy.’
We believe in the power of the people and in the rallying cry of leaders opposing the Appalachian Storage and Trading Hub – People over Petro. People over Plastics. People over Profit!
In the Alliance for Appalachia, our communities come together to build a just transition toward a whole and healthy community. We work for regenerative economies that create meaningful work and uphold self-determination – where local people participate in the decisions impacting their lives. We believe in a world where every being has a fundamental right to clean, healthy water, air, land, and food. We come together to fight powerful forces that oppress these values.
Ohio Vally Environmental Coalition and Center for Coalfield Justice are Alliance members serving as grassroots watchdogs on these outrageous projects. Sign up for their Action Alerts here and here, and search for them on Facebook where they are keeping us closely updated.
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