AP Sources: WV cracker site encroached on casino - Business, Government Legal News from throughout WV

AP Sources: WV cracker site encroached on casino

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Associated Press

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - West Virginia lost out in the battle to attract Shell's multibillion-dollar chemical plant because of the costs involved with relocating a casino that occupies the site, sources told The Associated Press on Thursday.

Shell announced plans Thursday to build the so-called "cracker" plant in Monaca, Pa., about 12 miles from the West Virginia border. Two individuals with direct knowledge of the negotiations with Shell, but who were unauthorized to speak publicly about them, said the company's preferred West Virginia location encroached on Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort.

Houston-based Shell, the U.S. subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell PLC, is planning a facility that can convert or crack a byproduct of nearby Marcellus shale natural gas drilling into a widely used chemical compound

The Mountaineer complex sits along the Ohio River in nearby Hancock County and includes a large, flat oval racetrack. Besides the costs of building a new facility, Mountaineer would face a countywide vote on whether to permit its video slot machines and table games if it were required to relocate outside of Hancock County. A new location may have also pushed Mountaineer into competition with one of the state's three other racetrack casinos in Kanawha, Jefferson and nearby Ohio counties.

Officials from Mountaineer and Shell did not immediately comment when contacted Thursday. West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and Commerce Secretary Keith Burdette both declined to comment on any specific locations that Shell had considered in West Virginia.

AP had previously reported that Shell was looking at parcels near Mountaineer. Tomblin did say Thursday that a company owned Shell's preferred West Virginia site, while Burdette said securing that site for Shell would have required relocating its current occupant.

"At the end of the day, it was all about the site," Burdette told The Associated Press.


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