Trump promotes Shell plant that will turn gas into plastics


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MONACA, Pa. (AP) — President Donald Trump is showcasing growing efforts to capitalize on western Pennsylvania's natural gas deposits by turning gas into plastics, as he tries to reinvigorate supporters in the manufacturing towns that helped him win the White House in 2016.

Trump arrived in Monaca, about 40 minutes north of Pittsburgh, today to tour Shell's soon-to-be completed Pennsylvania Petrochemicals Complex. The facility, which critics claim will become the largest air polluter in western Pennsylvania, is being built in an area hungry for investment.

The focus is part of a continued push by the Trump administration to increase the economy's dependence on fossil fuels in defiance of increasingly urgent warnings about climate change. And it's an embrace of plastic at a time when the world is sounding alarms over its ubiquity and impact.

"This would have never happened without me and us," Trump said, speaking to a crowd of thousands of workers building the site, dressed in fluorescent orange and yellow shirts and vests. In fact, Shell announced its plans to build the complex in 2012, when President Barack Obama was in office.

Trump's appeals to blue-collar workers helped him win Beaver County, where the plant is located, by more than 18 percentage points in 2016, only to have voters turn to Democrats in 2018's midterm elections. In one of a series of defeats that led to Republicans' loss of the House, voters sent Democrat Conor Lamb to Congress after the prosperity promised by Trump's tax cuts failed to materialize.

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