Pres. Trump visits PA Cracker

WOOD COUNTY, W.Va., MONACA, Pa.-(WTAP, Associated Press) Update: 5:30 P.M.

President Donald Trump was in northwestern Pennsylvania Tuesday, celebrating construction of a petrochemicals complex similar to the much-discussed "cracker" plant.

The president pledged his support for producing more plastics in the U.S.

The "cracker" transforms natural gas drilling by-products into plastics materials.

Shelled announced plans to build the complex in 2012, after also considering West Virginia for the project.

The head of the area's Polymer Alliance Zone was involved in those discussions when he was the state's secretary of commerce.

"We began meeting with Shell shortly after I became secretary in 2010. We're now approaching 2020, and they're building, but they're not finished."

Burdette adds another company the state was in talks with in 2014 still has not announced plans to build a cracker.

That announcement isn't expected to begin until at least 2020.

It was disclosed in July developers of a planned cracker in Wood County are now putting up for sale the site of that project, after years of delays in building it.

Burdette says he isn't sure Braskem will sell the land, but adds he hopes it is sold, if the company decides not to build there.


2:25 p.m.

President Donald Trump is telling workers at Shell's soon-to-be completed Pennsylvania Petrochemicals Complex that the largest investment in the state's history would have never happened without me and us."

That's despite the fact that Shell announced its plans to build the complex in 2012, when President Barack Obama was in office.

Trump is speaking in Monaca to highlighting his support for manufacturing as he tries to hold support in the Rust Belt towns that helped him win in 2016,

The plant is part of a growing effort to capitalize on western Pennsylvania's natural gas deposits by turning gas into plastics

But Trump told reporters earlier that he's not worried about producing more plastics in the U.S.

He says, "Plastics are fine" and the problem is what's "floating across the ocean from other places, including China."

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12:29 a.m.

President Donald Trump is showcasing the growing effort to capitalize on western Pennsylvania's natural gas deposits by turning gas into plastics.

Trump is also trying to hold onto the manufacturing towns that helped him win the White House in 2016.

Trump will travel to Monaca, Pennsylvania, on Tuesday to tour Shell's soon-to-be completed Pennsylvania Petrochemicals Complex. The facility is being built in an area hungry for investment and will convert ethane to approximately 1.6 million tons of polyethylene a year.

The trip is Trump's latest effort to highlight the burning of dirty fossil fuels in defiance of increasingly urgent warnings on climate change and an embrace of plastics at a time when the world is increasingly alarmed over its ubiquity and impact.

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