At a news conference at his Pittsburgh offices today, Gov. Tom Corbett hailed the Shell cracker plant announcement, calling it "the single biggest industrial project in the state's southwest in a generation." Much work is yet to be done, he warned, calling it "the first pitch in a nine-inning game."
He said there are number of steps to go before construction could start, beginning with private talks between Shell and Horsehead, as well as analyzing the site, assessing the local ethane supply and weighing the long-term economic viability of the plans. A confidentiality agreement barred him from discussing many details about those steps, he said, or the incentives the state offered to land the project.
"We probably won't see anything for a while," he said.
The governor was deeply involved in the pitch to Shell, meeting four or five times with the company's CEO (including one last meeting this morning), and even spending hours on his personal computer in the governor's mansion looking at development sites on Google Maps.
"I know that we were in competition with West Virginia and Ohio. I would spend hours at the governor's residence in my library on my computer on Google Map, pulling up the Ohio River the whole way, and saying where are the best facilities, not even knowing what they were, just looking for open areas. I kept coming back to the facility that was selected."
The Beaver County site was especially good for its access to riverways, rail and highways, the governor said, and Pittsburgh's cultural and educational amenities were another great draw for the company.