President speech

President Donald Trump gestures as he speaks Tuesday at the under-construction ethane cracker plant in Potter Township, Beaver County

President Donald Trump touted American energy produced by American workers at the petrochemical facility Tuesday in Beaver County.

The facility in Potter Township will be used to turn natural gas into plastics that can be used for manufacturing, and with the abundance of natural gas in Beaver County and elsewhere in western Pennsylvania, the president told Tuesday’s crowd of roughly 5,000 that the 300-acre-plus facility is “sitting on gold.”

Michael Marr, Shell Pennsylvania’s external relations director, said the plant currently employs just more than 5,000 employees, and will max out at approximately 6,000 employees during the construction phase. Roughly 600 employees will remain when operations begin.

Trump called the facility, which is the largest of its kind outside of the U.S. Gulf, “a revolutionary step in the pursuit of American energy dominance.”

The president said that jobs created by this facility and similar future facilities will produce generational employment, keeping Pennsylvania workers and their families employed for “many years” to come.

The president added that he expects at least 100,000 jobs to be “fueled by big energy” nationwide in the coming years.

Trump addressed concerns from environmentalists who fear the plant will become a significant source of air pollution in the region.

“(The United States) has the cleanest water and air we’ve ever had,” Trump said. “And we’re going to keep it that way.”