Exploring the Ohio River - Part 2: While staying in Steubenville, Ohio on my trip back East, I spent a day driving up the Ohio River towards East Liverpool, Ohio and checking out photo opportunities showing industrial activity, or the lack thereof. I was specifically looking for some 'rust belt' relics, abandoned factories and the like - but actually ran into quite a bit of activity and much of it seems to be about oil and natural gas versus the steel industry that has come and gone from this region. While natural gas production prospers here, old coal-fired power plants struggle, due to increasing operating costs and more stringent environmental regulations.
In doing some cursory research regarding the W.H.Sammis Power Plant seen below, I found there is quite a bit of controversy surrounding the huge coal-fired plant. In 2010 First Energy completed a $1.8 billion environmental retrofit of the plant (built in 1959), which was a major generator of 'fine particle pollution', a considerable health risk to residents of the Ohio River region. In 2012, First Energy decided to reduce operations at the plant due to a lack of demand as a result of the 'economic downturn'. As of February 10, 2016, the Ohio Citizen Action website reported that First Energy and American Electric Power (another Ohio utility) currently have proposals pending before PUCO (Public Utilities Commission of Ohio) which would essentially 'bailout' seven old and expensive power plants (including Sammis) at an estimated cost of $4-5 billion to Ohio tax payers. The proposals would force Ohio consumers to purchase the power from these plants for eight years or more (original proposal was for 15 years), regardless of market prices.
The Sammis plant is a coal-fired power plant operated by First Energy Corp. It covers 187 acres along the Ohio River in Stratton, Ohio.
The Linde Group - natural gas producer in West Virginia as seen from the Ohio side of the Ohio River.
Natural gas storage tanks in the foreground, with a bridge crossing the Ohio River from Ohio to West Virginia in the background.
Images from East Liverpool, Ohio along the Ohio River, once known as the 'The Pottery Capital of the World'. See my blog from January 18, 2016 for a look inside the last existing pottery company in East Liverpool, Hall's China Company.
Hill China Company plant, East Liverpool, Ohio
At East Liverpool, I crossed the Ohio River and drove back to Steubenville, along the east bank of the river, where I ran across some bucolic scenery amidst all the oil, gas, steel and coal. I also stumbled across a better view of the Sammis Power Plant on the opposite bank of the Ohio.
Wierton Steel in Weirton, West Virginia, across the river from Steubenville, is one of the few remaining steel plants in operation in the area.
Follansbee, West Virginia - Sign of the times...
Until next time,