Moms Clean Air Force’s Ohio River Valley coordinator, Rachel Meyer, recently toured the massive Shell Beaver County ethane cracker complex and wrote about it here. The plant is located about 30 miles north of Pittsburgh. This is where ethane gas fracked from the region is being used to make plastic, mostly single-use plastic such as food packaging.
As a concerned mom, Rachel joined a community watchdog group, Eyes On Shell. The group works on holding Shell accountable for the pollution the plant releases. Rachel is particularly concerned because she and her family live about eight miles from the plant.
In her article, Rachel stressed: “Each year, the plant could produce 3.5 billion pounds of plastic, adding to the plastic pollution crisis; 2.25 million tons of climate-warming carbon dioxide; and hundreds of tons of health-harming pollutants.”
Now, after 100 days of operation, environmental groups, including Moms Clean Air Force, Earthworks, Clean Air Council, Three Rivers Waterkeeper, and Breathe Project, conducted a webinar and released a report card holding Shell accountable. The plant received failing grades. The Pittsburgh Union Progress reports, “Since the plastic plant began operation on Nov. 15, the plant has exceeded annual emissions allowances, undergone multiple emergency flaring episodes, submitted at least seven malfunction reports and received three notices of violation from the state Department of Environmental Protection.”
According to Earthworks, Shell is the largest plastics production facility in the Northeast, and this is their largest petrochemical facility outside the Gulf Coast.
From the Pittsburgh Union Progress:
“Rachel Meyer of Moms Clean Air Force, an organization committed to protecting children’s health from the impacts of climate change and pollution, explained that the report card is based on asks that one would expect of a good neighbor, since Shell has stated that they would like to be a good neighbor.
“People don’t know if they have an adequate emergency response plan, and that’s causing anxiety, so if Shell would directly share some information about their plans that would help,” Meyer said.
“Meyer warned of PM 2.5 (particulate matter) from the plant, which she said could cause respiratory cardiovascular disease and systemic inflammation leading to other illnesses.”
As Rachel wrote in her article after touring the Shell plant, “No community should be inundated with dangerous health-harming toxic infrastructure. And no family should find themselves living in the middle of a chemical plant.”
More coverage at Pittsburgh Business Times.