Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld once unleashed a historically incisive set of words when asked about evidence linking Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi government to the supply of weapons of mass destruction to terror groups. To put it gently, at the time he crafted his response in February 2002, the support for the claim was flimsy.

“Reports that say that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don’t know we don’t know,” he said as stenographers’ heads exploded.

Somewhere in the midst of his infamous quote falls my understanding of the modern petrochemical world. What I know isn’t always known, and I don’t always know just how much I don’t know about what man can create with modern known-how.

Having been a party to the festivities surrounding the mechanical completion of MEGlobal’s $2 billion facility last month, I learned more about the many uses of mono ethylene glycol than would seem necessary to get through everyday life. But apparently to get through everyday life would be significantly more difficult without the product soon to be made in mass quantities behind the Buc-ee’s Beach Store.

Of course, most of us who have watched episodes of “Forensic Files” know it is used in antifreeze. Having boarded planes in some of the colder reaches of our great country, I also knew it was what got the ice off aircraft before we attempted to head skyward.

Less known is how prevalent it is in what we are wearing. For instance, the “vegan leather” jacket I bought at the outlet mall is made vegan because of the polyester materials created from ethylene glycol. Bonus points to the marketing folks who created the term “vegan leather” to describe the material.

The substance that will be cranked out over at MEGlobal also is used to make our clothes stretchy, like those skin-tight pants that are the height of current comfort and fashion. We walk on it, drink from it and sit on it.

All of those uses are a far cry from what pops to mind when someone mentions polyester, but that’s for the better. America would be much worse off if the research had stopped at leisure suits.

Incidentally, you can find out more about MEGlobal in the next edition of Gulf Coast Giants coming out Oct. 17.


Regular readers of Our Viewpoint might have noticed the list of editorial board members recently became much more populated. What the new members are showing already is The Facts had quite a deep bench, and we’re glad to be making use of it.

Joining the editorial team are Waylon Smart, who has lived in Lake Jackson for more than two decades and raised his family here. Jennifer Crittenden from our business office is a working mom with a great understanding of the community. Marketing representative Bobbie Greer from our advertising staff, another longtime Brazosport-area resident, has connections throughout Brazoria County.

These added voices offer perspectives those of us in the daily news grind might miss, especially when it comes to local issues that are the core of what we do. They will be an important part of how we shape Our Viewpoint going forward.

Michael Morris is managing editor of The Facts. Contact him at 979-237-0144 or, or follow him @factsmichael1 on Twitter.

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(1) entry


I thought that Ethylene derived from Crude Oil, that Scientist say, came from Dinosaurs. So how are the Jackets considered Vegan? :-)

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