As a result of multiple air permit violations at Shell’s petrochemical complex in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, the company has agreed to pay a sum of nearly $10 million to both the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and local communities in western Pennsylvania, as reported by The Times.
Shell has agreed to pay a $4.9 million civil penalty to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and an additional $5 million for local environmental projects to address months of pollution exceedances. They will also face monthly civil penalties for any future exceedances in 2023. The Potter Township ethane cracker plant, which had experienced operational issues, underwent repairs and maintenance and is set to resume production. Shell stated their commitment to being a responsible environmental steward and a reliable business partner for the region.
Exceeding emission limits
Shell has acknowledged exceeding emission limits for air contaminants and has agreed to make repairs to prevent future exceedances, as stated in the consent order and agreement. The company will pay a civil penalty, with 25% directed to local communities, in addition to $5 million for environmental projects. The total amount to be allocated for community benefit is $6.2 million, focusing on improving the environment, health, and quality of life in the vicinity of the facility. The DEP’s Office of Environmental Justice will assist in these initiatives.
Shell surpassed its rolling 12-month emissions limit for volatile organic compounds from October 2022 to the present, as well as the rolling limits for nitrogen oxides and hazardous air pollutants from December 2022 to the present. The company has received multiple citations from state regulators for flaring and malodor violations over the past year.
In a recent incident, elevated levels of benzene were detected by air monitors at the plant after a malfunction at the wastewater treatment plant in mid-April. Shell reported a release of hydrocarbons during tank drainage for maintenance, resulting in a strong chemical scent that caused respiratory issues such as watering and burning eyes, headaches, nausea, and other symptoms reported by individuals near the petrochemical complex.
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Source: The Times