Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Beaver County Residents Call For Accountability, Emergency Preparedness After Dozens Of Malfunctions, Pollution From Shell Petrochemical Plant

On November 15, Beaver County residents joined with organizations from across the region to call for accountability and heightened emergency preparedness after dozens of malfunctions and pollution from the Shell Petrochemical Plant during its first year of operation.

The Shell Plant had over 26 malfunctions and received 13 notice of violations and was penalized $10 million by the Department of Environmental Protection. 

The plant is the largest plastic production facility in the Northeast United States and sits on the banks of the Ohio River. It uses fracked ethane gas to create nurdles, the building blocks of single-use plastic. 

"I refuse to sit back and let another Beaver County community go through what I've gone through following the train derailment in East Palestine. Elected officials here in Beaver County have to not only take care of sick residents, but work to prevent additional petrochemical disasters. That's why I'm here today and that's why I fight for transparency, accountability and justice. If our elected officials won't do it, We The People must step up, stand together and advocate for what's right," said Beaver County resident Hilary Flint, of Beaver County Marcellus Awareness Community (BCMAC). 

In its first year of operations, Shell exceeded four air permits limits for Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, and hazardous air pollutants. 

These pollutants include things like benzene, a known cancer-causing agent. Many public health experts including the World Health Organization agree that there is no safe level of exposure to benzene. 

Shell is the largest emitter of Volatile Organic Compounds in Southwestern Pennsylvania. 

“The plant’s multiple malfunctions and permit violations send a clear message to the community that our families’ health and safety isn’t the priority, and it should be. We need greater protections for our families and an effective plan for getting communities critical information during spills, malfunctions, pollution releases and explosions. The county commissioners need to respond to residents' requests for a town hall to have an open dialogue about the communication process so we can better protect our own families,” said Rachel Meyer of Moms Clean Air Force.  

"Being asthmatic, I've actually noticed a significant difference in my breathing, particularly at night when Shell appears to be most active,” said Beaver County resident Skyler Brimmeier. "I can't recall how many times I've had to walk outside in the morning and file a complaint to the regional DEP.  Half my family has moved away because of Shell’s impact.”

“These massive plastic facilities are not just a threat when they malfunction, every day Shell operates in Beaver County it is putting the community at risk. This facility will never be able to operate safely and never be able to undo the pollution and damage it has caused over the past year. Shell can’t operate safely and that’s why we expect PA DEP to hold Shell to at least operate within the law,” said ana├»s peterson of Earthworks.

Beaver County residents were joined by RiverWise, and representatives from Beaver County Marcellus Awareness Community, Food & Water Watch, Clean Air Council, Moms Clean Air Force, Unity Council for the East Palestine Train Derailment, Mountain Watershed Association, Only One, Earthworks, Pittsburghers Against Single Use Plastic and more.

For more information, visit the Beaver County Marcellus Awareness Community website.


-- Beaver County Times: Citizen Watchdogs, Activists Mark One Year Of Shell Petrochemical Plant Operations

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]

-- Steering Committee Releases Protocol To Allocate $5 Million Penalty Fund Related To The Shell Petrochemical Plant In Beaver County  [PaEN]

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

-- Environmental Groups File Notice Of Intent To Sue Shell Chemical For Air Pollution Violations At Its 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]

-- DEP Issues Three More Air Quality Violations To Shell Petrochemical Plant In Beaver County Related To Emergency Flaring, Exceeding 12-Month Air Pollution Limits [PaEN]

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

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

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

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

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

Special 2023 Oil & Gas Compliance Reports:

-- DEP Issued At Least 472 Violations To 90 Conventional Oil & Gas Operators; 20 NOVs To 10 Shale Gas Operators For Abandoning Their Wells Without Plugging Them So Far In 2023  [PaEN]

-- DEP Issues Record 5,653 Notices Of Violation To Conventional Oil & Gas Operators So Far In 2023; ‘Culture Of Non-Compliance’ Continues  [PaEN] 

-- Shale Gas Operators On Track To Have More Violations In 2023 - Frozen Gas Infrastructure; Explosion; Pad Fire; Uncontrolled Gas Venting; Frack Outs; Major Spills;  Pipeline Crashing Thru A Home Highlight 2023 So Far  [PaEN] 

Weekly PA Oil & Gas Industry Public Notice Dashboards:

-- PA Oil & Gas Weekly Compliance Dashboard - Nov. 11 to 17 -- 37 Conventional Abandoned Wells; 1,260+ Shale Gas Spill; 1,000 Gallon Conventional Oil Spill In State Park; Rager Mtn Gas Storage Still Not Cleaned Up  [PaEN]

-- PA Oil & Gas Industrial Facilities: Permit Notices/Opportunities To Comment - November 18 [PaEN]

-- DEP Invites Comments On Renewal Of Danco Industries Petroleum Contaminated Wastewater Treatment Facility In Venango County  [PaEN] 

-- DEP Posted 66 Pages Of Permit-Related Notices In November 18 PA Bulletin  [PaEN]

Related Articles This Week:

-- State Dept. Of Health Pushing For Changes To Reduce Adverse Health Impacts From Natural Gas Development  [PaEN] 

-- Beaver County Residents Call For Accountability, Emergency Preparedness After Dozens Of Malfunctions, Pollution From Shell Petrochemical Plant  [PaEN] 

-- PUC Alert: Dec. 1 Utility Prices Are Changing - Natural Gas (+149% to -64.2%); Electric (+18.8% to -25.7%)  [PaEN] 

-- PUC Winter Natural Gas Reliability Overview Reports Now Available; But Do Not Address Winter Storm Elliot Issues  [PaEN]

-- Post-Gazette - Anya Litvak: Winter Storm Elliot’s Natural Gas Infrastructure Failures Not An Isolated Event; Report Says Electric Grid Still Vulnerable: ‘Winter Is Coming’

-- Utility Dive: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Investigating Possible Winter Storm Elliott Market Manipulation By Natural Gas Pipelines, Power Plants, Marketers

NewsClips This Week:

-- Observer-Reporter Editorial: Is Shapiro’s Voluntary Agreement With CNX The Right Move For Gas Well Safety?  ‘We Do Not Trust Foxes To Guard Henhouses’ 

-- Warren Times Editorial: Right Partnership On Gas Wells?  ‘We Do Not Trust Foxes To Guard Henhouses’ [Shapiro-CNX Statement of Mutual Interests]

-- Spotlight PA - Lilly Riddle: Companies Behind Mariner East II Pipeline Paid $42 Million In Pollution Fines To Pennsylvania

-- Spotlight PA: Did Mariner East Pipeline Construction Affect Your Water?  Contact Spotlight PA

-- Mariner East Pipeline Penalties Could Set Precedent For Environmental Enforcement; Attorney General’s Office Cited For Lack Of Transparency On Remediation Efforts

-- TribLive: Westmoreland Water Authority Warns Of Mandatory Water Restrictions As Dry Autumn Persists, Beaver Run Reservoir Continues To Fall [Shale Gas Drillers Withdrawn Water From The Reservoir For Fracking] 

-- TribLive: Westmoreland Water Authority Halts Fracking Water Withdrawals By CNX, Olympus Energy At Beaver Run Reservoir As Part Of Water Conservation Plan [Shale Gas Operators Took 301 Million Gallons From Reservoir This Year]

-- Williamsport Sun: Fracking Wastewater Spills At Eureka Resources Facility In Williamsport 

-- PA Capital-Star: PA’s Natural Gas Development Is Hurting Its Oldest Residents

-- Spotlight PA: PA Leads The Nation For Lyme Disease Cases; Oil & Gas Development, Fragmentation In Forests Boosts The Risk 

-- TribLive: PA Leads Nation In Lyme Disease Cases, Oil & Gas Development, Other Forest Fragmentation Boosting The Risk

-- Williamsport Sun: PA Leads The Nation For Lyme Disease Cases; Oil & Gas Development, Fragmentation In Forests Boosts The Risk 

-- Beaver County Residents Call For Accountability, Emergency Preparedness After Dozens Of Malfunctions, Pollution From Shell Petrochemical Plant  [PaEN]

-- TribLive: Invenergy Scraps Plan For Natural Gas-Fired Power Plant In Allegheny County

-- The Allegheny Front: EPA Finds Spills, Leaks, Heavy Metals At MAX Environmental Landfill In Westmoreland County [75% Of Waste Comes From Shale Gas Industry ]

-- Williamsport Sun: Fracking Wastewater Spills At Eureka Resources Facility In Williamsport

-- Williamsport Sun Letter: Fracking Falsehood Spread By Sen. Yaw, Others - By Dean Marshall, Lock Haven

-- WHYY: Amtrak Backs Off Plan To Install Natural Gas Boilers At 30th Street Station In Philadelphia, Crediting New Climate Goals 

-- Hydrogen Insight: Plug Power Share Price Plunges 40% After Firm Admits It Could Fold In Next 12 Months [Key Player In Western PA Hydrogen Hub] 

-- New York State: Massive Southern Tier Gas Drilling Spree Proposed - 6,500 Land Leases Sought For Plan To Extract Shale Gas, Store Carbon Dioxide

-- New York State: NY DEC, State Legislators Muted On Massive Plan To Extract Natural Gas, Store Carbon Dioxide In Southern Tier; But Green Groups Outraged

-- TribLive/AP: Ohio Commission Approves Natural Gas Drilling In State Parks, Wildlife Areas Despite Fraud Investigation

-- Financial Times: New EU Rules On Methane Leaks To Hit Oil And Gas Importers

-- Reuters: EU Agrees To Law To Hit Fossil Fuel, LNG Natural Gas Imports With Methane Emissions Limits 

-- Bloomberg: EU Sets New Rules On LNG Natural Gas Imports - Production, Transportation

-- Bloomberg: Oil Majors’ Carbon Capture Plans Dubbed A ‘Dangerous Delusion’

[Posted: November 15, 2023]  PA Environment Digest

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