OVEC leader to speak on Appalachian Storage Hub

PARKERSBURG — A community organizer for the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition will discuss a proposed natural gas storage hub 7 p.m. Thursday at the Third Thursday meeting of Mid-Ohio Valley Climate Action at the First Christian Church, 1400 Washington Ave., Parkersburg.

Alex Cole will present “The Proposed Appalachian Storage Hub and What it Means for the Ohio River Valley” at the meeting, which is open to the public and free of charge.

Cole is an organizer with Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition who is focused on stopping the Appalachian Storage Hub/Petrochemical Complex proposed for the region.

“Our state and federal governments are already talking about this boom in chemical and plastic production not only as a savior for the faltering fracking industry but also as a godsend for our economic development,” Cole said. “But even while the politicians talk about it, I find that most people don’t know what the Appalachian Storage Hub is. My primary goal is to present the proposed infrastructure laying it all out from Pittsburgh to Catlettsburg. I hope that a better understanding will inspire outrage and we can work together and fight this thing every step of the way and not just when it pops up directly in our backyards.”

Cole has a bachelor’s of science in environmental geography and a bachelor’s of arts in United States history from Ohio University. He describes himself as a born naturalist. His mother is an artist and landscape painter and his father is a landscaper and horticulturalist.

Cole’s first exposure to the coalition was in 1995 when he was 6 years old. He remembers the scratch-and-sniff sticker his family received in the mail during the coalition’s campaign to stop the paper mill in Apple Grove, only 10 miles from his family’s hilltop farm in Pliny, W.Va.

Cole now lives off-grid on that hilltop farm next to Westvaco Co. property that would have been clear cut if the pulp mill had been built.

Cole was previously employed as an extension agent with West Virginia State University. He also volunteered with the coalition’s water quality monitoring project, gathering baseline data from streams impacted by the Mountaineer Express Pipeline.

He also is leading the coalition’s Innovation Valley Project, which promotes sustainable living and community-driven sustainable economic development in the Ohio and Kanawha River Valleys.

Mid-Ohio Valley Climate Action focuses on raising awareness of the science establishing the danger of the climate crisis and the urgency of dealing with it. It is affiliated with 350.org and Citizens’ Climate Lobby and is a Science Booster Club for the National Center for Science Education and collaborates with other environmental groups on campaigns and events in the Mid-Ohio Valley. http://main.movclimateaction.org.

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