Letter to President Donald Trump During Visit to Petrochemical Site, Beaver County, Pa.

August 13, 2019

President Donald J. Trump

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Re: Presidential Visit to Beaver County, PA

Dear President Trump:

As a group of residents and organizations concerned about the future of the Greater Ohio River Valley, we wish to share our concerns as you visit our home today.  For years we have been battling the effects of economic disinvestment following generations of heavy industrial development that have left a lot for us to clean up. We are working hard to find our way forward.

One of the lessons we have learned from our past is that life and health are precious, so we want to protect ourselves and those we love.

We know that petrochemical development is the wrong path for our future.  The Shell plant you are visiting today will erase 30 years’ worth of air quality improvements if it begins operating.  It will result in higher rates of respiratory disease, heart disease, asthma, lost productivity, cancer, and early deaths, as well as adverse birth outcomes.  The industry puts our water supply at risk.  There already is an existing overburden of disease in the community in terms of respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease and cancer that would be impacted by the emissions from this facility.  In short, this industry is willing to sacrifice the health and economy of our communities in order to overproduce plastics.

At the same time, the petrochemical industry risks making our region known for pushing the climate over the edge.  The Shell plant will emit over 2,200,000 tons of CO2 per year, which is the equivalent of the emission of 424,000 passenger vehicles driven for a year.  It will take 12 percent of Pennsylvania’s forests to absorb this amount of CO2.  In this way, the plant casts a dark cloud over our children’s future.

Another lesson is that our future economic well-being depends on attracting new businesses, and we cannot do that when our community becomes increasingly more toxic and our property values fall.  The Shell plant will only employ about 500 workers.  The net effect of having this industry is to drive away investment from the types of jobs we want: jobs that do not require sacrificing the lives of the workers and the community.  Our region has a long history of learning this lesson.  We do not want to go back down that path.

We ask that you stop ongoing efforts to subsidize the petrochemical industry with billions of dollars of public money and loan guarantees that drain the life out of our communities. We would rather see such support go to jobs and projects that promote health, extend lives, and support the whole community.  Please commit to protecting our health, our economy, and our children’s future.

We know that through innovation, we can create jobs, clean up our communities, and protect our health.  Please take time to visit with people in our community who are committed to this vision for our future.


Matthew Mehalik, Ph.D.
Executive Director
Breathe Project
Energy Innovation Center
1435 Bedford Ave. Suite 140
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
[email protected]

Jacquelyn Bonomo
President and CEO
200 First Ave, Suite 200
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
[email protected]

Terrie Baumgardner
Steering Committee
P.O. Box 31
Ambridge, PA 15003
[email protected]

Ashleigh Deemer
Western PA Director
PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center
1831 Murray Ave, Ste 216
Pittsburgh, PA 15217
(412) 521-0943
[email protected]

Mark Dixon
[email protected]

Lisa Graves Marcucci
Environmental Integrity Project
PA Coordinator, Community Outreach
370 Temona Drive
Pittsburgh, PA 15236
[email protected]

Wanda Guthrie
EcoJustice Working Group, TMC
5129 Penn Avenue
Pittsburgh, 15224
[email protected]

Jill Kriesky
Associate Director
Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project
2001 Waterdam Plaza Drive, Suite 201
McMurray, PA 15317
[email protected]

Sarah Martik
Campaign Manager
Center for Coalfield Justice
14 East Beau Street
Washington PA 15301,
[email protected]

Gail Murray, Founder
Julie DiCenzo, Community Outreach Coordinator
Communities First-Sewickley Valley
c/o Breathe Collaborative
Energy Innovation Center – Suite 140
1435 Bedford Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
[email protected]

Michelle Naccarati-Chapkis
Executive Director
Women for a Healthy Environment
5877 Commerce Street, Suite 114
Pittsburgh, PA 15206

Thaddeus Popovich
Allegheny County Clean Air Now (ACCAN)
c/o Community Presbyterian Church of Ben Avon
7501 Church Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15202
[email protected]

Larry Schweiger & Phoebe Reese
Climate Reality: Pittsburgh & Southwestern PA Chapter
6327 Riverfront Dr
Pittsburgh, PA 15238
(323) 309-3248
[email protected]

List of Co-signing Organizations

Allegheny County Clean Air Now (ACCAN) is a citizen’s watchdog group that works for better air quality in the Ohio Valley in the area including and around Neville Island.

Beaver County Marcellus Awareness Community (BCMAC) seeks to inform the citizens of Western Pennsylvania about all aspects of the petrochemical buildout in SWPA and to protect our health and environment by supporting sustainable energy alternatives to carbon-based energy sources.

The Breathe Project is a clearinghouse for information on air quality in Pittsburgh, southwestern Pennsylvania and beyond. We use the best available science and technology to better understand the quality of the air we breathe and provide opportunities for citizens to engage and take action.

The Center for Coalfield Justice’s mission is to improve policy and regulations for the oversight of fossil fuel extraction and use; to educate, empower and organize coalfield residents; and to protect public and environmental health.

Climate Reality: Pittsburgh & Southwestern PA represents more than 400 trained Climate Reality Leaders and community members who understand the link between local source pollution and the global climate crisis.

Communities First – Sewickley Valley is a group committed to protecting health, safety, and the environment in the Sewickley Valley, and our focus is on the impact the spreading petrochemical/plastics industry will have on our communities.

The EcoJustice Working Group is one of the four core groups generated by the Tomas Merton Center and believes the health of the Earth Community is the primary responsibility of every person, every community and every nation.

The Environmental Health Project is a nonprofit public health organization that assists and supports residents of Southwestern Pennsylvania and beyond who believe their health has been, or could be, impacted by unconventional oil and gas development.

The Environmental Integrity Project is a non-profit, nonpartisan organization that empowers communities and protects public health and the environment by investigating polluters, holding them accountable under the law, and strengthening public policy.

#NoPetroPA: We believe that the Shell Ethane Cracker, Falcon pipeline, and related petro industries have no business doing business at the expense of our health.

PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center investigates problems, crafts solutions, educates the public and decision-makers, and helps the public make their voices heard in debates over the quality of our environment and our lives.

PennFuture is a statewide environmental organization that advocates for clean air, clean water and a healthy climate.

Women for a Healthy Environment: Through educational programming, technical assistance and advocacy, Women for a Healthy Environment addresses environmental exposures that impact public health by advancing strategies and policies that create healthy communities, especially those where children live, learn and play.

Share This Blog
Recent Posts