Sunday, January 23, 2022

Play

Despite a failed attempt in the U.S. Senate, more than 200 business owners call for federal reforms to strengthen election laws, and the U.S. Supreme Court deals another blow to abortion providers.

Play

President Biden gets cheers and jeers as he marks his first year in the White House, the Jan. 6 committee wants to hear from Ivanka Trump, and the Supreme Court rejects another challenge to the Texas abortion law.

Play

Expanded broadband akin to electrification in rural America 80 years ago; small Wyoming grocery store survives monopolization; revitalized Kansas town gets national recognition; and Montana's Native communities look for voter suppression work-arounds.

Report: Benefits from Western PA Petrochemical Plant To Come?

Play

Thursday, December 9, 2021   

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Beaver County will soon be the home of the largest petrochemical plant in the Appalachia region, but a new report cautions with the project near completion, the promise of an economic boom for Western Pennsylvania so far has not materialized.

Shell's Pennsylvania Petrochemicals Complex, an ethane cracker plant, was announced in 2012 and is expected to open in 2022 or 2023. The Ohio River Valley Institute's recent report found over the last decade, Beaver County has seen no reduction in poverty, and once construction is complete, the 6,000 temporary jobs will reduce to 600 permanent work opportunities.

Eric de Place, research fellow at the Ohio River Valley Institute, said the realities in the county are dire.

"Since the project was announced, the county has lost population," de Place observed. "It actually lost businesses. It has fewer people employed now in that county than it did before the project was announced. So, if you're another community thinking about petrochemicals, I would say Beaver County is a big red warning flag."

Once fully operational, the plant is expected to produce 1.6 million tons of polyethylene each year. In an attempt to attract Shell to the region, state lawmakers approved a $1.6 billion tax break for the company, the largest ever in state history.

A recent study from Robert Morris University found the Shell plant could add nearly $4 billion to the Pennsylvania economy annually, with hundreds of millions of dollars going directly to Beaver County.

But de Place noted headwinds in the petrochemical industry make it worth questioning if the project will be viable in the future.

"As the cracker facility opens, and as it shifts to actually producing polyethylene, let's continue to look back at the track record on the ground and compare it to the promises and see whether economic growth happens or not," de Place urged. "We can use that to make decisions about the relative tradeoffs, there are some environmental impacts, of course, with a project that size."

The Ohio River Valley Institute report found income did increase in Beaver County, with median income unadjusted for inflation growing at the same rate as the U.S. as a whole, and slightly faster than the state overall.

Disclosure: Ohio River Valley Institute contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy and Priorities, Climate Change/Air Quality, Energy Policy, and Public Lands/Wilderness. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


get more stories like this via email
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2018 to fill the seat previously held by Republican Jeff Flake. (Flickr)

Social Issues

A wave of new Arizona voters in the 2020 election changed the normally conservative state to one where progressive candidates and ideas have a fightin…


Environment

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to use federal funds for a project to help keep invasive carp out of the Great Lakes. It is proposing using …

Social Issues

Healthcare workers at an Oregon hospital have achieved what they say is a "win" after several strikes in recent months. Nearly 300 workers and …


Pennsylvania has over 300 million square feet of big-box building rooftops, which new research suggests could provide almost half the electricity that these buildings consume if they were outfitted with solar panels. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

As Pennsylvania continues to grow its solar-energy capacity, a new report found the roofs of big-box stores present a big opportunity to increase …

Social Issues

If Iowa wants to create healthier outcomes for its residents, advocates say there are steps policymakers can take right now to make it happen…

Over the course of the pandemic, North Dakota has received more than $350 million in federal aid to help struggling renters, but says it has sent back roughly 40% of that money unspent. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

North Dakota has returned a significant portion of the rental assistance provided by the federal government in the pandemic, and groups working …

Social Issues

Nearly 1,200 Hoosiers are about to have some of their student-loan debt forgiven, as part of a multistate settlement with the student-loan-servicing …

Social Issues

After a defeat on Wednesday, Democrats in the U.S. Senate say they'll keep trying to pass voting-rights legislation, and one Wisconsin group wants …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021