Remarks as Prepared for Deputy Secretary Mark W. Menezes
PTT Project Stakeholders Meeting
August 13, 2020
And thank you to Ohio-West Virginia Excavating for hosting us today.
It’s wonderful to be here in Belmont County, Ohio, in the heart of the Appalachian Region energy corridor for this important discussion.
I am pleased to join with you, the many regional and local stakeholders and members of the community, who have such a great interest in the Ohio Petrochemical Complex Project.
We are all here today for the same reason: We want this project to continue moving forward.
We want it to move forward because it is going to create jobs right here in Belmont County.
We want it to move forward because it will strengthen American energy security.
And we want it to move forward because of its broader economic development potential for the region.
The Trump Administration and the Department of Energy are committed to supporting this project as part of our vision for an energy and petrochemical renaissance in Appalachia.
In fact, this is my first official trip as Deputy Secretary, and I chose to come here to demonstrate our level of commitment to this project and to this community.
We also applaud PTT Global for their commitment to proceed, as evidenced by the recent agreement with Energy Storage Ventures on the Mountaineer natural gas liquids storage site.
Appalachia has such abundant resources and there is such tremendous potential for natural gas production, the petrochemicals industry, and manufacturing, that it is a shame the policies of the previous administration held the region back.
Our policy is to move the region forward.
These projects are large in scale and can be complex. They will always face challenges.
The Administration, including DOE and our federal partners like the Departments of Transportation, Commerce, and Agriculture, and the State Department, we are still here.
We are here because advancing Appalachia’s energy infrastructure and economic growth potential is a priority we are not just going to walk away from.
The federal government has a key role to play in facilitating the conditions for the Ohio Petrochemical Complex Project’s success.
So, what are we doing?
First and foremost, we implemented a tax and regulatory structure that encourages investment and private sector confidence.
The Trump Administration has done this both legislatively and through bold Executive Orders.
Next, we need to make public infrastructure improvements.
In 2018, more than $16 million in transportation grant funds were awarded for the Ohio River Rail Improvement Project, which was a requirement to move forward with the plant.
But more must be done, like developing more reliable access to broadband in the area.
And perhaps most importantly, we are investing in workforce development initiatives so local workers have the skills to staff new companies and facilities.
Here with us today are representatives from JobsOhio and Plumbers and Steamfitters Local Union 83, who share our desire to train and equip a ready workforce as this project comes online.
In these efforts at the federal level, we are also pleased to have the support of Congressman Bill Johnson, and we will continue to work with him on the federal components of the project.
But the key to this project is not in Washington.
The answers are rarely found in Washington.
The key to this project is here in this room.
It is all of you, the local stakeholders and community members.
It is your perseverance that is going to get this done.
It is your input that is going to make the Ohio Petrochemical Complex Project a success because you know best what is needed, or not needed, to get this across the finish line.
I look forward to hearing your individual thoughts today and to seeing the progress at the site for myself.
I again want to reiterate the Administration’s support for this project and our commitment to promoting opportunities for economic growth in Appalachia.
This region is poised to lead an American energy and petrochemical renaissance, and we look forward to working with you to make it a reality.