Preserve and Protect Point Township:

Learn more about Encina's Proposed Petrochemical Plastics Facility
to be Built in Your Backyard.

Background and Key Facts:

A Texas based company, Encina, has proposed to construct a petrochemical recycling facility in Point Township, PA. The company is currently in the permitting stages to get the project approved for construction. Here is some key information: 

Along Route 11 and the Susquehanna River in Point Township, Northumberland County PA.

Ship 450,000 tons of plastic waste per year (Encina 2022) and transport chemicals produced by the facility along the river (WKOK 2022). Encina plans to produce benzene, toluene, xylene, and propylene from post-consumer plastic waste.

Encina plans to begin construction of their plant in the summer of 2023 and anticipates to open in two parts, the first in 2024 and the second in 2025 (WKOK Staff). Additionally, a new natural gas pipeline will be constructed to supply the energy needed to vaporize the plastics.


Environmental and Health Risks:

The Department of Health and Human Services has determined that benzene causes blood related cancers in humans (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2018). The exposure to organic chemical compounds of toluene, xylene, or propylene can cause damage to liver & kidneys, birth defects, nervous system issues, or respiratory issues (OSHA, EPA 2000, NJ DoH 2017).

Encina is planning to pump 2,000 of gallons of water per minute from the Susquehanna River into the plant for their chemical processes and then pump it back into the river via a pumping and treatment facility on-site (WKOK 2022). This can cause chemical and microplastic pollution of the river, which is an important source of drinking water for many residents in the Susquehanna valley (Middle Susquehanna Riverkeepers).

The property is sited within the river’s floodplain and severe weather events have the potential to bring additional pollutants into nearby waterways (PEMA 2021).

Economic Viability Issues:

This company is new and has no record of past successes. The company claims that the Point Township plant will offer 300 full- time positions (Encina 2022), but when reviewing their website FAQ, it only promises 70 permanent positions (Encina 2021). Encina has only reported a $55 million investment towards its funding goal out of the $1.1 billion needed for the proposed plant (Recycling Product News 2022).

Attempts to bring “chemical recycling” systems up to a commercial scale have been ongoing over the last 20 years; of 37 projects that were announced, only three are commercially operational, often leaving communities with stranded assets and toxic industrial sites to remediate (GAIA 2021).

In our view, Encina has not been transparent about planned emissions, water impacts, or hazardous waste production that would come from their proposed facility. This is a new and unproven technology; the potential benefits are uncertain, but the health and environmental risks are very clear.

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