Finally, after four long years of waiting, Shell announced that it will build its ethane cracker plant
on the former Horsehead site in Potter Township. Even though Shell has been preparing the site and
changing the landscape along 376 for years, Shell just confirmed today that the plant will definitely be
built. It is an announcement that has the political and business leaders of Beaver County very excited.
Revitalizing Beaver County's Economy
I was born and raised in Beaver County. While I am too young to have seen the fall of the steel industry in the ‘70s, I’ve seen the aftermath my whole life. I grew up driving past abandoned steel mills and hearing stories about how vibrant the county was in earlier decades when those plants, and the businesses that served them, kept the county well supplied with good jobs. I am old enough to remember the devastation to the local economy when U.S. Air abandoned Pittsburgh as a hub. I am glad that the cracker plant finally gives us reason to believe that the economy will improve.
The cracker plant will cost approximately $2 billion to build, will require approximately 6,000 construction workers and will employ about 600 people once the plant is up and running. All of those workers will need places to eat, live and shop. Therefore, the plant will create more jobs than just the 600 it will take to run it. Also, Shell will have to pay real estate taxes on a plant that cost $2 billion to build, which will be a wonderful boost to the tax base.
A huge project such as the Shell cracker plant has the potential to have a huge impact on the Beaver County economy. After all of the economic woes the county has been through and all of the work it took to woo Shell to build here, it is such a relief to find out that the project will move forward. Hopefully, this will be the beginning of a revitalization of Beaver County.