Members of Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett's cabinet were joined by supporters from the state's general assembly and local and regional officials Thursday at the Community College of Beaver County in Monaca, PA, to lobby for construction of a petrochemical complex, including an ethane cracker, in the southwestern Pennsylvania borough.

Bringing such a facility to Beaver County would create more than 10,000 temporary construction jobs and up to 20,000 permanent jobs in spinoff production and manufacturing industries, they said.

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 (DCED) 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 $4 billion state of the art facility to process wet gas from the Marcellus would be the single largest economic development project in southwestern Pennsylvania in more than a decade, according to the governor's office.

Walker and Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Michael Krancer recently blasted a media report that said the state would pay for remediation of a 300-acre site near Monaca that Shell Chemical LP has signed an option to purchase and would presumably use to build an ethane cracker (see Shale Daily, June 12; March 16). Royal Dutch Shell plc has said it will decide within the next 18 to 24 months whether to build an ethane cracker in Beaver County.

Corbett is reportedly seeking up to $1.675 billion in tax credits over the next 25 years for Shell and other companies willing to locate an ethane cracker in the state (see Shale Daily, June 6).

"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," said Department of Revenue Secretary Dan Meuser. "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."

Joining the Corbett administration officials were supporters of the project, including state Sen. Elder Vogel (R-Allegheny), state Reps. Jim Christiana (R-Beaver), Jim Marshall (R-Beaver), Robert Matzie (D-Allegheny) and Jaret Gibbons (D-Beaver). Allegheny Conference on Community Development CEO Dennis Yablonsky and representatives of the Beaver County Chamber of Commerce and local trade unions were also in attendance, according to a Corbett spokesman.