Paused Ohio "Chemical Recycling" Plant Puts Spotlight On Appalachia

"“Right now there’s no proof that this is safe.”"

"YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — On a bright, cold day in February, Akim Lattermore stood in front of her house gesturing toward the site of a proposed facility that would convert old tires, electronic waste and plastic into fuel.

The site, owned by SOBE Thermal Energy Systems, is currently home to crumbling old buildings and a natural-gas-powered steam heat generating unit. It’s less than half a mile from Lattermore’s home, visible from her front yard, which bears a sign with a picture of a black plume of smoke and the message “Stop SOBE. We have enough toxic air pollution.”

“I’m a two-time cancer survivor,” Lattermore told Environmental Health News(EHN). “I believe that our environment has a lot to do with it.”

Youngstown has a long industrial history and is still home to numerous sources of industrial pollution, including a steel plant and other metal fabricators, a concrete plant and a hazardous waste processing facility. Youngstown’s polluting industries released 80,600 pounds of toxic chemicals into air and water in 2022, including carcinogenic heavy metals like lead, nickel and chromium compounds, and possible carcinogens like ethylbenzene, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Toxics Release Inventory."

Kristina Marusic reports for Environmental Health News March 25, 2024.

Source: EHN, 03/27/2024