A recent Post-Gazette article "Shell Plant Attracts Watchful Eyes" (March 26) raised the troubling suggestion of resistance to the proposed construction of a petrochemical "cracker" plant in Beaver County.
As the leader of one of this region's storied unions, I can tell you that Shell's decision to locate in Beaver County carries the promise of good-paying union jobs, a spinoff effect that will reach up and down the economic spectrum and futures for the families that have suffered for too long in the wake of deindustrialization.
This is not the time to go in search of reasons not to begin this project.
Are there environmental implications? Of course. Every act humans undertake on Earth has implications for the environment.
Yet, unlike the industrial growth of the preceding century, we must factor environmental protection into the equation from the start. The people working this plant will breathe the same air and drink the same water as the rest of us in the region. They are as invested in doing this the right way as anyone else.
Outright hostility and refusal to look at the issue in terms of how to both grow the economy and protect the environment will only keep us paralyzed and could well cost Western Pennsylvania the biggest economic development project in many years. We can build and operate this plant while protecting the environment. The United Steelworkers has never believed a clean environment excludes good jobs. The men and women of USW believe this nation can have both.
LEO W. GERARD
First Published April 25, 2012 12:00 AM