Reporting Andy Sheehan
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The stakes were high, so Pennsylvania like neighboring West Virginia and Ohio pulled out all stops to get it.
“The single largest industrial development in the state’s southwest in more than a generation,” Governor Tom Corbett said.
Governor Corbett was directly involved and the legislature passed a bill making the future site an enterprise zone with up to 15 years in tax abatements and eligible for infrastructure improvements.
The river access coupled with the fact Shell has leased tens of thousands of acres for shale drilling would give the cracker a ready supply of natural gas from which to make plastics.
Congressman Jason Altmire says there was a full out lobbying effort involving the entire region touting those benefits.
“We have the site, we have the resources, but all of us working together – the Allegheny County business community, the political leadership supporting Beaver County with this,” he said. “We all made this happen because it was a group effort.”
But while Ohio and West Virginia matched or bettered the state’s bid monetarily, insiders say that the site’s proximity to the city of Pittsburgh and its cultural amenities as well the international airport pushed the Monaca site over the top.
Now, if and when the cracker is built, local officials will try to ensure all environmental regulations are followed.
“We have to make sure this is done as clean and efficiently and safely as possible,” Altmire said.