BEAVER COUNTY (KDKA) — President Donald Trump returns to the area this week for a visit to Beaver County.
It will be the president’s first visit since he paid respects after the shooting at Tree of Life Synagogue last October and his 13th visit to the state as president.
Tuesday’s visit will be a happier occasion and a chance for him to focus on energy and jobs at the Shell cracker plant now under construction along the Ohio River in Beaver County.
“We’re really excited the President of the United States is coming,” Shell Pennsylvania’s External Relations Director Michael Marr told KDKA money editor Jon Delano on Monday. “It’s really the opportunity for our workers to showcase all the good work they’re doing to build a new facility that will have jobs in this region for years and generations to come.”
Marr said the president plans to tour at least part of the 370-acre site where thousands of workers are building a plant that takes natural gas and cracks it or breaks it to make plastic pellets.
“He’ll take a look at some of the construction progress that is being made, and then he will have the opportunity to speak with a mix of both craft workers — who are in the field now building the plant — and the workers that we are hiring later to run the plant,” Marr said.
After the president tours the cracker site, there will be a bit of a shutdown so the 5,000 workers can go to a warehouse on the site and listen to the president’s remarks.
The trip has been billed as non-political, but in this region, President Trump’s support for fossil fuels like natural gas helped him to win all but one county in Western Pennsylvania in 2016.
WATCH: KDKA’s Jon Delano reports on President Trump’s visit.
Beaver County Commissioner Sandie Egley was invited to join the president.
Delano: “What do you think his message will be?”
Egley” “That we have a plant here in Beaver County that has brought $6 billion worth of construction right down over the hill, and it’s an economic boom for this entire region, let alone this state and this side of the Mississippi.”
And it’s the plentiful supply of natural gas that enticed Shell to this area.
“You can make the plastic from natural gas and that’s one of the main reasons we’re building it right here — because of the available supply of natural gas is in this region,” said Marr.
So watch for the president to make that same argument on Tuesday.
If you are catching a plane Tuesday afternoon at Pittsburgh International Airport, allow some extra time.
After Air Force One lands, expect some rolling traffic closures along an 18-mile stretch of Interstate 376 during the mid-afternoon, between 1-4 p.m.
PennDOT says that Route 18 west of I-376 and Pleasant Hill Road will also be closed during the president’s visit.