In another round of economic victory in Pittsburgh, Shell Oil announced its intentions to build its petrochemical "cracker" facility in Beaver County. Western PA beat out the likes of West Virginia and Ohio in securing the contracts from Shell.
This ends a long courtship by the three states that saw each respective governor travel to Houston to pitch their bid for the new plant.
Although this will bring the prospect of new jobs and economic prosperity, the realistic threat of environmental consequences looms largely in the background of the announcement. Despite repeated assurances by large shale corporations that fracking poses no environmental threat, public opinion varies on the topic.
The most notable of these is the threat toward groundwater contamination, brought largely to light in the documenatry Gasland. The director argues that fracking leaches carcinogenic and hazardous compounds into the groundwater, which could forever contaminate life-supporting watersheds.
With this announcement comes the realization that the company that was created by oil profits will now have five cracker plants domestically. Shell continues to become a larger player in the Marcellus Shale development.
It is expected that the construction of the plant will require 10,000 new employees, and will require several hundred full-time exmployees once fully operational. There has been no news regarding the potential of an office location at the industrial site.