POTTER TOWNSHIP (KDKA) – The Potter Township supervisors voted unanimously Wednesday night to approve a permit for Shell to build a cracker plant in Beaver County.

Though not everyone supports it, the plant is expected to bring hundreds of jobs to the area.

The vote to approve a conditional use permit means Shell can now proceed with plans to build a new petrochemical complex in Beaver County. The plans include building an ethane cracker and a natural gas power plant, with three pipelines.

“We look forward to coming here and having a positive economic impact for years and decades to come,” said Michael Marr, an external relations advisor for the Shell project.

The vote comes after hearings and debates about the cracker plant. People who live in the area have varying opinions. Those who oppose it cite health and environmental concerns, while supporters are excited about the jobs.

Shell expects to employ 6,000 people during construction and have 600 permanent positions once the plant is completed.

“For us, it’s not about a tug of war over jobs. Beaver County needs jobs. We support that,” said David Smith, outreach coordinator with the Clean Air Council. “I personally would help anybody up there find work in a healthy and safe environment.”

The Clean Air Council has worked with Beaver County residents who oppose the cracker plant. They want the township supervisors to have an independent source evaluate the traffic, lighting and pollution that will come from the plant.

The Potter Township Supervisors say they want Shell to conduct noise studies, traffic analyses and lighting studies. Construction of the plant is expected to begin next year.

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