Thursday, June 8, 2023

Residents, Environmental Groups Rally Against Shell Petrochemical Plant's Pollution In Beaver County

On June 8, residents and environmental groups from across the Beaver County region gathered to demand accountability from the Shell Petrochemical Plant and delivered a
petition with 60,000 signatures to Beaver County commissioners demanding they keep residents safe.

The residents and groups attending the rally said six months into operations, Shell has proven time and time again that it will harm communities in order to keep its record-breaking profits. 

Residents demanded an end to the harmful pollution. 

The participants said the facility spent months malfunctioning and dumping illegal and excess air pollution on the local community. Since it began operations six months ago, the facility has already blown through 3 air pollution limits and received 11 notice of violations. 

“I do not feel safe here. I'm terrified for my son, who is immunocompromised. We're already seeing property values dropping, small businesses failing, and health complications. Nobody should have to be afraid to live in their own home,” said Beaver County resident Erica Wallace. 

“Shell has repeatedly exceeded generous allowances, with little to no communication about the levels of pollutants being released. The agencies responsible for oversight and enforcement cannot diminish the concerns of residents then claim they are going to make Shell a good neighbor - when there is ample evidence Shell has no desire to protect this community,” said Ana├»s Peterson of Earthworks.

“I’m getting hit from both sides,” said Beaver County resident and Unity Council member Hilary Flint. “The toxic train derailment in East Palestine, OH happened just 35 miles from the Shell cracker. While the derailment is a tragedy caused by spilling and burning the chemicals used to make plastics, most folks don’t realize that harmful pollution happens every day when you live near a plastics facility. As a young cancer survivor, I worry daily about how the malfunctions at the Shell plant affect my health. I’m done surviving. The people of Beaver County deserve to thrive. I want to thrive.” 

Petition To Commissioners

Organizers of the rally delivered a petition with more than 60,000 signatures, and confronted Beaver County Commissioners to demand they do more to keep residents safe. 

Those demands included providing real-time notifications of emissions exceedances, calling on the state to halt polluting operations at the plant if Shell has 10 more violations, and hosting a town hall where community members can ask questions. 

Commissioners committed to holding a town hall, and advocating for a better emergency response system.

“I’ve been worried about the Shell Plastic Plant since it started construction, and since it began operating those fears have only intensified. I worry about the elderly in the area. What happens if something goes wrong at the Plant? They aren’t on social media. A lot of them don’t use text messaging. Who is going to protect them? I don’t trust that Beaver County has a plan in place for a crisis that is timely, safe and equitable,” said Beaver County resident Sherri Mackenstein.

“I’ve been sick almost every day since the train derailment. I have had a sore throat, burning in my chest and stomach, runny nose, cough, vomiting, diarrhea, itchy eyes and congestion. I’ve been living like this for four months now. No one is listening to or helping the people of Beaver County recover from the tragic train derailment right on the border in East Palestine, Ohio. After seeing the county’s response to such a catastrophic event, I worry every day that they are not prepared for what could happen at the Shell Plastic Plant,” said Christina Siceloff, South Beaver, PA.

“Someone has to protect the health and safety of this area. I’m a cancer survivor, and now I worry that my children could suffer the same fate due to the chemical bomb that was detonated a few miles away from us. Some days I feel like all that I have left is my voice, and I’m going to continue to get louder until I’m convinced our local politicians and leaders care about us,” said Amanda Kemmer, Darlington, PA resident.

Participants said Shell's Petrochemical Plant was supposed to spur local economic growth, renewed business investment, and tens of thousands of jobs, according to industry executives and government officials. 

But, they said research shows the facility has failed to generate local employment growth and economic prosperity and is unlikely to do so in the future.  Read more here.

Beaver County residents were joined by The Shell Accountability Campaign, which includes Watch Out! Community Action Network, Group Against Smog and Pollution, Earthworks, Moms Clean Air Force, Clean Air Council, Fractracker, Pittsburghers Against Single Use Plastic, 350 Pittsburgh, Unity Council, Mountain Watershed Association, Food & Water Watch, Three Rivers Waterkeeper, Putting Down Roots, Our Children Our Earth, and Beaver County Marcellus Awareness Community with the project Eyes on Shell.

Visit the Beaver County Marcellus Awareness Community and Eyes on Shell webpages for more information.

NewsClips:

-- Beaver County Times: Activists Ask County Leaders To Support Greater Oversight Of Shell Petrochemical Plant

-- Beaver County Times Guest Essay: Beaver County Commissioners Meeting About Shell Petrochemical Plant Highlights Importance Of Leading Without Being In Charge

-- WESA-Reid Frazier: Residents Rally Against Shell Petrochemical Plant Pollution In Beaver County

-- Pittsburgh Business Times: Residents Urge Beaver County Commissioners To Help Lobby Shell To Protect Health, Police Shell

Related Articles - Shell Petrochemical Plant:

-- DEP Signs Consent Order Including $10 Million In Penalties, Local Payments With Shell Petrochemical Plant In Beaver County To Resolve Air Quality Violations; Plant To Restart May 24  [PaEN]

-- Groups File Federal Lawsuit Against Shell Petrochemical Plant In Beaver County For Air Pollution Violations  [PaEN]

-- Earthworks Submits Video Evidence To DEP Of More Air Pollution Violations By Gas Flares At Shell Petrochemical Plant In Beaver County  [PaEN]

-- Eyes On Shell Reports Shell Petrochemical Plant Fenceline Monitors Found Benzene Emissions Above Toxic Substances Limits; No Timeline For Restarting Plant; DEP Issued Another NOV For Air Violations  [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]

-- 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]

-- Shell Petrochemical Plant Had 3-Hour Emergency Flaring Event To Burn Off Flammable Gases In Beaver County  [PaEN]

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

-- Guest Essay: Shell Petrochemical Plant Off To A Bad- And Dangerous- Start In Beaver County  [PaEN]

-- Intense, Bright White Light From The Shell Plastics Plant Turns Night Into Day For Many Neighbors Of The Beaver County Plant  [PaEN]

PA Oil & Gas Public Notice Dashboards:

-- MarkWest Liberty Midstream Files To Clean Up 10,000 Gallon Natural Gas Condensate Spill Caused By December’s Winter Storm Elliot Freeze In Washington County  [PaEN] 

-- Pennsylvania Oil & Gas Weekly Compliance Dashboard - June 3 to 9:   Plugged Conventional Well Frack-Out; 10 More NOVs For Abandoning Conventional Wells  [PaEN] 

-- PA Oil & Gas Industrial Facilities: Permit Notices/Opportunities To Comment - June 10   [PaEN]

-- DEP Posts 51 Pages Of Permit-Related Notices In June 10 PA Bulletin  [PaEN] 

Related Articles This Week:

-- Senate Environmental Committee Info Session On Carbon Capture Discusses Job Potential; Reaching Net-Zero Carbon Goal; Impacts/Risks Of The Technology; PA’s Poor Track Record In Regulating Pipelines, Oil & Gas Industry  [PaEN]

-- Senate Republicans Pass Bill Taking ‘Protection’ Out Of The Name Of Department Of Environmental Protection; But DEP Doesn’t Have To Change Its Signs Until They Wear Out  [PaEN]

-- House Committee Reports Out Bill Requiring The Evaluation Of Cumulative Impacts Of Some New Pollution Sources On Communities Already Burdened By Pollution; And Other Bills  [PaEN]

-- Republicans, Shale Gas Industry Oppose House Bill Requiring The Evaluation Of Cumulative Impacts Of Some New Pollution Sources On Communities Already Burdened By Pollution  [PaEN]

-- Inside Climate News: Abandoned Conventional Oil/Natural Gas Wells Emit Carcinogens, Other Harmful Pollutants In PA, Study Shows  [PaEN]

-- EPA Invites Comments On Proposed Oil/Gas Waste Underground Injection Well In Fayette County; July 11 Virtual Public Hearing Set  [PaEN]

-- Penn State Extension Hosts Virtual Fundamentals Of Carbon Capture And CO2 Flooding Workshop June 27  [PaEN]

[Posted: June 8, 2023]  PA Environment Digest

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