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Thu May 25, 2023, 08:58 PM

Months after residents sound the alarm, Pennsylvania 'cracks' down on Shell plant

NBC News
May 25, 2023, 7:29 PM EDT
By Katarina Sabados, Kenzi Abou-Sabe and Hannah Rappleye

This story was produced in partnership with the Global Reporting Centre.

MONACA, Pa. — Shell has agreed to pay $10 million to Pennsylvania for exceeding emissions limits during the troubled launch of its massive new plastics plant in Beaver County. The sum includes a nearly $5 million civil penalty and another $5 million to fund local environmental projects.

“With this agreement, the Department of Environmental Protection is taking steps to hold Shell accountable and protect Pennsylvanians’ constitutional right to clean air and water while encouraging innovation and economic development in the Commonwealth,” said acting Secretary Rich Negrín.

The “ethane cracker,” as the plant is called, is a 384-acre-wide industrial complex that heats ethane — a byproduct of fracking in the region — and “cracks” it under high pressure into ethylene to produce polyethylene pellets, a building block for plastic.


The enforcement action comes three weeks after NBC News and the Global Reporting Centre first started asking Shell and DEP questions about the plant, and not long after environmental advocacy groups sued Shell over its excess emissions. The agency’s consent order details a range of violations. In addition to repeatedly breaching emissions limits for VOCs, nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide and “hazardous air pollutants” — otherwise known as air toxics — DEP cited a slew of malfunctions at the plant dating back to June 2022.


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Reply Months after residents sound the alarm, Pennsylvania 'cracks' down on Shell plant (Original post)
Wicked Blue Thursday OP
ProfessorGAC Thursday #1
Wicked Blue Friday #2

Response to Wicked Blue (Original post)

Thu May 25, 2023, 09:13 PM

1. This Is Bizarre

The ability to run near-zero emissions ethylene production has been around for years.
And, it's not expensive. In order to get permitting & right to operate, the systems have to built to PSM (process safety management) code.
Those include all the instrumentation, infrastructure, containment, and monitors. The money is already spent so doing it right costs nothing extra.
On top of that, I've been in Shell chem plants. They are typically run by the book. And Shell is a Responsible Care manufacturer.
I think local management will be looking for work very soon.

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Response to ProfessorGAC (Reply #1)

Fri May 26, 2023, 10:56 AM

2. It seems to me Pennsylvania is hellbent on poisoning itself

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