(The Center Square) – Texas-based fuel company Nacero Inc. plans to build a $6 billion manufacturing plant on the site of a former coal mine in Newport Township and Nanticoke, bringing 3,500 construction jobs and 450 permanent jobs to northeastern Pennsylvania, the company announced.
“Nacero’s decision to invest $6 billion and create nearly 4,000 new jobs represents the single largest economic development investment in the history of Luzerne County,” state Sen. John Yudichak, I-Swoyersville, said in a statement.
The facility is expected to produce 64,000 barrels per day of Nacero’s zero-sulphur low-carbon footprint gasoline, made from renewable and natural renewable gasoline, not crude oil.
The company claims its production method results in a gasoline that cuts the carbon footprint of a vehicle’s fuel in half, compared to existing fuels. Nacero’s gasoline can be used to fuel cars and trucks without any modifications, according to the company.
“This news is good for our economy and our environment,” state Rep. Aaron Kaufer, R-Luzerne, said in a House Republican Caucus statement. “We can have good-paying jobs and a cleaner environment at the same time with this investment.”
The announcement came after Gov. Tom Wolf signed into law a measure that provides tax credits to petrochemical plants, like Nacero, in northeastern Pennsylvania.
2020 Act 66 establishes the Local Resource Manufacturing Tax Credit, which requires a company to invest $400 million in the construction of a new manufacturing facility, create 800 jobs, pay prevailing wages and use carbon capture and sequestration technology “when economically feasible.”
Beginning in 2024, eligible companies can buy dry natural gas at a tax credit of 47 cents per unit. Tax credits for the program are capped at just over $26.6 million annually, per the law.
Wolf had vetoed the bill earlier last year, but legislators again passed it months later. The administration signed the legislation after negotiations guaranteed prevailing wage benefits and limited the cost to taxpayers.
The decision upset environmental groups and some Democrats, who said the bill prioritized handouts to gas companies over the health and safety of residents.
“The fracked gas and petrochemical industries cannot be trusted to operate safely in the Commonwealth,” Jacquelyn Bonomo, president and CEO of PennFuture, said in July. “Instead of holding the industry accountable, our so-called leaders are giving them millions in precious taxpayer dollars.”
The Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association said the law, introduced by Kaufer, will create at least 4,400 permanent jobs and realize $1.6 billion in economic benefits to the region.
Nacero plans to begin work on the plant as early as next year, with the project estimated to be completed by 2027, according to a House Republican Caucus press release.