BEAVER CO. – Members of Gov. Tom Corbett’s Cabinet were joined by a coalition of supporters today to discuss the importance of bringing a petrochemical complex to Pennsylvania that would create more than 10,000 construction jobs and up to 20,000 permanent jobs in spinoff production and manufacturing industries.
“The benefits of employing up to 20,000 Pennsylvanians and lowering the raw materials cost for Pennsylvania manufacturers far outweigh the investment,’’ Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary C. Alan Walker said. “It’s not about politics; it’s about jobs. It’s about real people who rely on those jobs to pay their bills, feed their families and invest for retirement.’’
A petrochemical complex would include an ethane cracker that would process ethane from “wet” Marcellus natural gas to produce ethylene, one of the primary building blocks for petrochemicals. Ethylene is used for a number of chemical derivatives that are used to produce various products, including food packaging, bottles, house siding, pipes, toys, tires, diapers, footwear, detergent, adhesives and other products.
“An ethane cracker plant means jobs for Beaver County, for this region, and for the state of Pennsylvania,’’ said Secretary of Labor and Industry Julia Hearthway.
According to the American Chemistry Council, the construction of an ethylene production complex in Pennsylvania will lead to at least 10,000 construction jobs, 400 direct plant jobs, and approximately 17,000 jobs in associated industries that will emerge to support and take advantage of this plant’s operations.
Pennsylvania, led by Corbett, beat out tough competition from surrounding states to become the primary choice location for this project. This plant will be the first in the northeastern U.S. and will, in order to be successful, require substantial additional investments made by dozens of new manufacturers.
“If we passively stand by and do nothing, we will not only lose the Shell project but also lose our ability to grow the manufacturing industry in Pennsylvania,’’ Department of Revenue Secretary Dan Meuser said. “This project and others could end up in Ohio, West Virginia or in the Gulf Coast, where 26 of the nation’s 29 crackers are located.’’