Dec. 26NEWPORT TWP. A proposed gas-to–gasoline industrial plant in Luzerne county is being portrayed as environmentally friendly. However, a group of national, state, and local environmental organizations have joined forces to oppose it.
The following organizations opposed the $6 billion project in Newport Township/Nanticoke City/Hanover Township are: Action Together NEPA. Berks Gas Truth. Better Path Coalition. Clean Air Council. Climate Reality Project: Pennsylvania Chapters Coalition. Concerned Health Professionals of PA. Delaware Riverkeeper Network. FracTracker Alliance. Green Amendments For the Generations. Interfaith Power and Light. League of Women Voters Pennsylvania. PennFuture. Physicians for Social Responsibility Pennsylvania. Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Wyoming Valley. Watchdogs of Southeastern PA.
State Senator John Yudichak, who is the main advocate for this project, and Nacero officials responded to the concerns. They even released a statement by Mark D. Levine (a Novel Prize winner) who co-authored 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Dr. Levine, a senior advisor at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, described Nacero’s potential to slow down global warming as a chance “we can’t afford to miss.”
The opposition groups released a statement along with a Clean Air Council factsheet that explains why they are against this project.
“Nacero, a Texas-based company behind the $6B refinery, promotes its business as being environmentally responsible, but there isn’t any evidence to support these claims, especially at local level,” the statement states. “Nacero’s proposed Luzerne County refining plant would be the third-worst climate pollutants emitter in Texas, according to Clean Air Council documents. It also ranks among the top pollutant emitters of other harmful substances.
According to the groups, the proposal would create a significant source of pollution in a residential area near an elementary school.
“Although Nacero claims its business is based upon proven technology, little information is available about the process,” the statement continued. “Nacero has not built any plant since it was established in 2015. The technology is only used in one plant in the world, and that plant opened in 2019
Further, Nacero is claiming that it plans to market two gasoline product “Nacero Blue” as well as “Nacero Green” because both products, which opponents claim are chemically similar, would require more dangerous pipeline infrastructure for the gas to be transported to the plant.
“Nacero is relying upon carbon capture ‘when possible’ to support its claims, but the feasibility of carbon cap is not a reality,” states the statement. “The environmental community is concerned the Nacero refinery in Luzerne will be the first of a new wave proposals for fracked gaz-related projects. Although it is marketed as being ‘good for climate’, it will pollute local communities and produce significant amounts of greenhouse gases.
Yudichak, I-Swoyersville said that Action Together NEPA is an activist organization that works to elect progressive Democrats.
“The Nacero manufacturing facility, located in Luzerne County and powered by 100% renewable energy, has the broad support from both Republican leaders and Democrats who want to immediately address the climate change issue by reducing carbon emissions to net-zero. Yudichak said. “NaceroGreen gasoline will revolutionize transportation and help the United States meet their climate change goals.”
Yudichak stated, “The innovative process Nacero uses to produce gasoline, which has zero sulfur emission and fifty percent less CO emissions, has been identified by scientists as the most effective, immediate way to reduce pollution in our cities and address climate changes.”
“Nacero’s $6 billion manufacturing plant for Nanticoke City & Newport Township is a transformative economic growth project that will have a 25 billion impact on the regional economy. Nacero is determined to create four thousand new jobs and to make the Luzerne county facility a national environmental leader in the fight against climate change.
Marc Heissan is Director of Strategic Development at Nacero. He stated, “We are confident the permitting process will confirm Newport Township is an appropriate site for this facility. We look forward to speaking with those who have expressed concern. We will be closer to achieving our climate goals by producing gasoline with a smaller carbon footprint over the lifecycle. This will provide a significant boost to local and regional economies.
Carl Zichella, a member the Nacero Advisory Council, was a senior position in the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Sierra Club for 32-years. He stated, “The United States will likely continue to be the largest user gasoline in the world for many decades.” We must do more than just stop global warming by addressing gasoline. Our best chance of achieving this goal is to make gasoline from natural gas or renewable natural gas.
Kristin Volchansky (Political & Advocacy Organizer, Action Together NEPA) also issued a separate opposition statement.
“We are deeply concerned about the announcement of a Luzerne County gasoline to gasoline refinery. We share the same concern that this plant does no belong near a residential neighborhood and that its construction raises grave safety and health issues that have not been scientifically evaluated for a refinery of this type in the United States.
According to the group, the Luzerne County refinery would rank third in climate pollution according to documents obtained by Clean Air Council for Nacero’s Texas facility.
“The company has not given residents solid assurances that the jobs they create will be primarily localized or unionized nor have they allowed residents to voice their opinions at public meetings.”
“Residents near this plant and surrounding communities deserve the truth regarding traffic, emissions and other quality-of-life issues that will be coming with it, and assurances about safety and health that will be done to their satisfaction.”
About the project
Marc Heissan was director of strategic developments at Nacero Inc. when the project was announced in October. He stated that the company has been working for the past two year to gain a solid understanding of the process for developing the chosen Luzerne County location.
Heissan stated, “There is still much work to do, but we will learn more once we begin construction on our Texas facility next spring.”
Texas-based company plans on building a $6 billion manufacturing facility at the site of a former coalmine. This facility will produce clean gasoline made of natural gas and renewable gas and create thousands of new jobs.
Yudichak said that Nacero’s decision to invest $6Billion and create nearly 4000 new jobs represents the single biggest economic development investment in Luzerne County’s history.
Heissan stated that “our affordable gasoline will be usable today’s cars & trucks without modification and we are addressing one the most pressing problems in the globe today.” “We will be able to better plan the timing of construction here in Pennsylvania once we have completed our first Texas project next January.”
Reach Bill O’Boyle on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle or at 570-9611-6118