A Texas-based energy company on Friday announced plans to build a $6 billion manufacturing facility on the site of a former coal mine that will produce gasoline made from natural gas and renewable natural gas and is expected to generate thousands of jobs.
Work on the facility proposed by Nacero Inc. for ex-mine land in Newport Township and Nanticoke is expected to begin within the next two years and will take four more years to complete.
State Sen. John Yudichak, who hosted a press conference about the project in his Nanticoke office, said there will be 3,500 construction jobs available to build the masive facility, with all building trades involved. Once completed, Yurdichak said the Nacero facility will employ 450 high-tech jobs that will pay $85,000 per year.
"And, it further represents an environmental transformation of Newport Township and Nanticoke City through the reclamation of mine-scarred lands to pave the way for a revolutionary manufacturing facility that will change the global market for gasoline by reducing the carbon footprint in the transportation sector by 50%," said Yudichak, I-Swoyersville.
"This is big news," he added.
The facility's competitively priced, zero sulfur gasoline will be usable in contemporary cars and trucks without modification, officials said.
"We will give everyday drivers zero sulfur, 100% domestic, low- and net zero-carbon gasoline for use in their existing vehicles without modification," Nacero CEO Jay McKenna said. "Our affordable and accessible products will clear the air and reduce global warming."
Founded in 2015, Houston-based Nacero is bringing a new gasoline to market made from natural gas and renewable natural gas rather than crude oil, according to its website. Nacero recently broke ground on a facility in Odessa, Texas.
Rep. Aaron Kaufer, R-Kingston, said more than a generation ago, energy in the form of anthracite coal helped Northeastern Pennsylvania lead the Industrial Revolution.
"Today, I'm pleased to announce that Northeast Pennsylvania, right here in Luzerne County, will once again lead the next energy revolution, the Clean Energy Revolution," Kaufer said. "This is the missing piece of the puzzle our country has been so desperately longing for an environmentally superior product that can be implemented in the near-term for the cars of today."
Kaufer added that even though it may seem nearly impossible in today's political climate, these products accomplish the goals of both sides of the political aisle an environmentally responsible product, while still being consumer friendly on the pocketbooks.
"This is truly the monumental, transformative, game-changing generational opportunity for Luzerne County that we have all been hoping for since the decline of coal," Kaufer said. "While there are still many steps in the process, when this facility is fully up and running, 30 million tons of carbon dioxide will be avoided annually, which is roughly the equivalent of removing 6.5 million cars from the road."
Nacero's products include Nacero Blue gasoline, which reduces life-cycle carbon emissions by 50% while Nacero Green gasoline, which incorporates renewable natural gas and carbon capture will have zero life-cycle carbon footprint.
Kaufer said this technology will pull the country forward in meeting its carbon reduction goals.
"It almost doesn't seem real, but consumers all along the Eastern seaboard will have the opportunity to purchase zero life-cycle carbon gasoline," Kaufer said. "What this means is that consumers buying this gasoline will have zero carbon footprint. And we are going to make that zero-life cycle carbon gasoline right here in Luzerne County."
Community leaders react
Acting Luzerne County Manager Romilda Crocamo said, "This is a very special day for Luzerne County. This project brings jobs, jobs being hope and hope strengthens our community."
Jack Zyla, Newport Township Commissioner, said he felt like the township had just won the lottery.
"This is great news," he said. "Newport Township has no big business or industry. This is a big day for Newport Township."
Nanticoke Mayor Kevin Coughlin said the project will have many positive effects on the city and region.
"When this project begins, these workers will need a place to live and they will eat in our restaurants and patronize our businesses. This is an unbelievable day for us."
Meuser, Cartwright comment
"Nacero's $6 billion investment in Pennsylvania's Luzerne County will create 4,000 jobs, reclaim hundreds of acres of mine scared land, and advance Pennsylvania's reputation as a leader in energy innovation," said U.S. Rep. Dan Meuser, R-Dallas. "The plant's affordable low and zero carbon footprint gasolines will reduce carbon emissions nationally, improve local air quality and reduce our reliance on foreign oil by producing a fuel that Americans can use in the cars they drive today with half the carbon footprint of existing fuels using Pennsylvania natural gas. It will make our region a leading example of what American ingenuity and hardworking Pennsylvanians can achieve."
U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Moosic, said, "I am always looking for ways to bring high-skill, high-paying jobs to Northeastern Pennsylvania. Long-range, Nacero plans to replace a substantial percentage of petroleum-based gasoline in the U.S. market. Doing so with natural gas and renewable natural gas-based regular gasoline offers an intriguing possibility. Northeastern Pennsylvania workers are second to none, and it's no wonder our area attracts the attention of new companies."
Dennis Davin, Secretary Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development:
"The company's commitment to locate their newest, innovative multi-billion-dollar plant in the commonwealth will bring thousands of new jobs to Luzerne County. Nacero could have located anywhere, but chose Pennsylvania as a result of its ingenuity, talented workforce and strong economy."
Warren Faust, President NEPA Building & Construction Trades Council said, The men and women of the NEPA Building & Construction Trades are ready, willing, and eager to deploy our skilled trade workers to build the Nacero Luzerne County plant that will produce good-paying jobs and change the game on natural gas projects in Pennsylvania."