Pennsylvania

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Shell asks for local support for chemical plant

Potter Township supervisors hear testimony on the impacts of Shell's proposed ethane cracker. The facility would be built about 30 miles northwest of Pittsburgh.

Reid Frazier / Allegheny Front

Potter Township supervisors hear testimony on the impacts of Shell's proposed ethane cracker. The facility would be built about 30 miles northwest of Pittsburgh.

On Tuesday night, township supervisors in Potter Township, about 30 miles northwest of Pittsburgh, heard testimony on the impacts that Shell’s ethane cracker might have on their community.

The supervisors held a hearing on the company’s request for a conditional use permit from the township, a necessary step in the company’s plan to build a multi-billion dollar chemical plant on the banks of the Ohio River. The plant would make plastic out of the region’s natural gas.

Potter Township supervisors asked company officials about the lighting, traffic and noise the cracker is expected to create. Township Supervisor Earl Shamp asked Shell External Affairs Manager Chris Heitman whether the plant would give off odors.

Heitman said that unlike other ethane crackers on the Gulf Coast, the Potter Township site won’t emit many odors because it will use natural gas—not crude oil—as a base ingredient. Crude oil has a higher sulfur content than natural gas, he said. Read more from The Allegheny Front.

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