Friday, February 17, 2023

Groups Urge DEP To Temporarily Halt Operations At Shell Petrochemical Plant In Beaver County; File 2nd Notice Of Intent To Sue For Air Pollution Violations

On February 17, the
Clean Air Council and the Environmental Integrity Project sent a letter to the Department of Environmental Protection urging the state to temporarily halt operations at a Shell plastics chemical plant in Beaver County that has repeatedly violated air pollution limits and recently released plumes of black smoke for several hours.

The Clean Air Council and the Environmental Integrity Project asked DEP to temporarily halt operations of the Shell Polymers Monaca plant in Beaver County until the company can demonstrate it can operate in compliance with pollution control laws.

The two groups also filed a notice of intent to sue Shell for violating the chemical plant’s 12-month permit limit on nitrogen oxides (NOx), which contribute to asthma attacks, lung disease, and (in the environment) smog and acid rain. 

This is the second notice from the groups in three weeks: On February 2, the organizations sent a notice to Shell for other violations of the plant’s air permit, including a 12-month limit on volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which also contribute to smog and health problems, and a prohibition on certain “visible emissions,” including black smoke from flares.

Under the federal Clean Air Act, plaintiffs must send notices of intent to sue at least 60 days before filing a complaint in federal court.

“DEP must act quickly to stop Shell’s ongoing violations of pollution limits that are meant to protect public health” said Sarah Kula, attorney for the Environmental Integrity Project. “Since the plant has come online, Shell has struggled to meet its permit limits, and DEP needs to order a pause to operations until Shell can comply with the law.”

“We will continue to hold Shell accountable as long as they continue to violate the law,” said Joseph Minott, Clean Air Council Executive Director and Chief Counsel. “The health and environmental risks that come with pollution exceedances can harm communities and the region for generations to come. DEP must put the plant on hold until Shell can get its act together.”

On February 13, the Shell plant’s flare released large amounts of black smoke over the course of several hours. 

Click Here for footage of the February 13th event. 

Plants often use these flaring events to burn off chemicals rather than vent directly into the atmosphere, but Shell’s permit does not allow the kind of visible emissions that occurred on Monday. 

When a flare is not operating properly, it can release dangerous air pollution, including fine particulate matter, benzene, hexane, formaldehyde, mercury, arsenic, and other organic hazardous air pollutants.

In 2022, Shell emitted 346 tons of NOx, which exceeded its permitted annual NOx emissions (328.8 tons of NOx in a 12-month period). 

From August to December 2022 alone, the plant emitted 310 tons of NOx – nearly reaching the 12-month limit during this five month period.  

Click Here for a copy of the letter to DEP.

Click Here for the notice of intent to sue with exhibits


-- WITF: PA Emergency Services Implore State For Urgent Help With Staffing, Funding - Fire, EMS, Police

-- TribLive: DEP Hit Shell Petrochemical Plant With Another Air Violation Feb. 13  

-- StateImpactPA - Reid Frazier: Shell Flares Burn Again After Equipment Malfunction At Petrochemical Plant In Beaver County [Gas Flares Burning Dirty Black Like On Monday Indicate Incomplete Combustion]

-- WTAE: Heightened Gas Flaring Activity At Beaver County Shell Petrochemical Plant [Video]

-- Beaver Times: Malfunction Triggers Elevated Flaring At Shell Petrochemical Plant In Beaver County

-- Pittsburgh Business Times: Problem At Shell Petrochemical Plant Leads To High Flaring

Related Articles:

-- Environmental Groups File Notice Of Intent To Sue Shell Chemical For Air Pollution Violations At Its Petrochemical Plant In Beaver County  [PaEN]

-- DEP Issues Notice Of Violation To Shell Petrochemical Plant In Beaver County For Air Quality Violations In Sept. - Oct.  [PaEN]

-- Dramatic Video From Carnegie Mellon’s Project Breathe Shows Shell Ethane Plant In Beaver County Flaring Natural Gas Due To Malfunction  [PaEN]

-- Beaver County Residents And Allies Launch New Shell Ethane Plant Accountability Campaign  [PaEN]

Related Articles This Week:

-- DEP Issued 754 Notices Of Violation For Defective Oil & Gas Well Casing, Cementing, The Fundamental Protection Needed To Prevent Gas Migration, Groundwater & Air Contamination, Explosions  [PaEN]

-- Susquehanna River Basin Commission Approves 38 Water Use Requests For Shale Gas Well Drilling Pads In Bradford, Clearfield, Lycoming, Potter, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga, Wyoming Counties  [PaEN] 

-- Better Path Coalition Hosts Feb. 21 Webinar On DEP's Federally-Funded Oil & Gas Well Plugging Program [PaEN] 

-- DEP Approves Permits For Transcontinental Gas Regional Energy Access Expansion Pipeline Project in Luzerne, Northampton, Bucks, Chester, Monroe Counties  [PaEN]

-- Environmental Health Project Blog: Natural Gas Compressor Stations - A Guide To Protecting Your Health And The Environment [Photo: FracTracker, Clinton County] [PaEN]

-- PA Environmental Defense Foundation Files Court Motion To Prevent Unconstitutional Spending Of DCNR Oil & Gas Revenues For Nonconservation Purposes  [PaEN]

-- Gov. Shapiro Lays Out Serious Concerns Regarding Norfolk Southern’s Incident Management After Meeting With Beaver County Officials  [PaEN]

-- Gov. Shapiro Announces Pennsylvania Will Conduct Independent Water Sampling Following Ohio/PA Train Derailment  [PaEN]

-- PA Agriculture On Ohio/PA Train Derailment Impacts: 2 Reports Of Horses Affected By Smoke Immediately Following Controlled Burn; No Reports Of Livestock, Domestic Animal Health Symptoms After [PaEN] 

-- Two PA Senate Committees To Hold Hearings On Ohio/PA Train Derailment: Emergency Preparedness- Feb. 23; Transportation- Feb. 27 - Public Invited To Submit Questions  To Transportation [PaEN]

-- Ohio/PA Train Derailment, Pipeline Explosions, Uncontrolled Releases Put Spotlight On Public Health, Safety Threats Posed By Petrochemical, Natural Gas Industrial And Pipeline Infrastructure In PA  [PaEN]

-- Groups Urge DEP To Temporarily Halt Operations At Shell Petrochemical Plant In Beaver County; File 2nd Notice Of Intent To Sue For Air Pollution Violations  [PaEN]

[Posted: February 17, 2023]  PA Environment Digest

No comments :

Post a Comment

Subscribe To Receive Updates:

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner