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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And a good economic news story now. A major manufacturing plant is being built – not shut down – in western Pennsylvania.

As Scott Detrow of member station WITF reports, Shell Chemical has selected a site 30 miles from Pittsburgh to build a multi-billion dollar natural gas processor.

SCOTT DETROW, BYLINE: The facility is called an ethane cracker. It takes ethane from the natural gas being extracted from Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale formation, and converts it ethylene, which is used to make plastic.

Pennsylvania's Republican Governor Tom Corbett is more focused on another aspect.

GOVERNOR TOM CORBETT, REPUBLICAN, PENNSYLVANIA: Ten thousand construction jobs for I think something like five years is a lot of construction jobs here in southwestern Pennsylvania. And that spins off a lot. The operation of it, depending on the size, could be, you know, up to 500 people that would be there full-time.

DETROW: Corbett says he spent hours in front of his computer, looking at potential sites on Google Maps.

Pennsylvania's gain is West Virginia and Ohio's loss. Both states' governors worked hard to win the cracker. Pennsylvania made a more low-key pitch that stayed out of the headlines, though the state did pass tax breaks and steered some money toward the project.

Corbett says the cracker could be the region's single-largest industrial development in more than a generation - but his optimism is cautious.

PENNSYLVANIA: You probably won't see anything for a while. Because there will be evaluations of the environmental impact of the company that is leaving.

DETROW: The Beaver County site currently hosts a zinc smelter, which will be there until 2014. Shell's next steps will include more site inspections, design studies, and research.

For NPR News, I'm Scott Detrow in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

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