Toxic chemical releases at Hopewell plant questioned by Congresswoman McClellan

Toxic chemical releases at Hopewell plant questioned by Congresswoman McClellan

(© Andriy Blokhin –

Climate and environmental justice leader Congresswoman Jennifer McClellan of Virginia is pushing AdvanSix Hopewell regarding reported toxic chemical releases.

She sent a letter to AdvanSix President and CEO Erin Kane and AdvanSix Hopewell Plant Manager Andy Girvin today in response to an April 7 article in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Toxic chemical releases at the plant are reportedly impacting the health and well being of Hopewell residents.

“The article describes how the AdvanSix facility in Hopewell, Virginia violated the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act 66 times over the past eight years, including monthly Clean Air Act violations every month over the past two years,” McClellan wrote. “The facility released toxic chemicals including sulfuric acid, sulfur dioxide, and phenol — which can cause respiratory, gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, and skin damage, as well as contribute to acid rain.”

In her letter, she expressed her deep concern for the health and well-being of local residents, particularly for the 900 homes within one mile of the facility, and highlighted the disparate health outcomes that persist in Hopewell.

“Notably, the life expectancy in Hopewell is more than five years lower than the average in Virginia. The cancer mortality rate is almost double the state average, and the rate of hospitalization for asthma is three times the norm,” she wrote

McClellan’s letter demands answers and solutions to the following:

  1. How will you change operations at the Hopewell facility to avoid future Clean Air Act and Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act violations?
  2. How are you working with the Environmental Protection Agency and Virginia Department of Environmental Quality to come into compliance with federal and state regulations?
  3. How are you addressing the environmental impacts of the most recent toxic chemical releases?
  4. How are you planning to increase transparency and improve communication with the community regarding the risks to their health from these toxic releases?

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.