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Shell agrees to pay $10 million for air pollution at new large petrochemical plant in Pennsylvania – WKBN.com

(AP) – Shell has agreed to pay $10 million to settle allegations of air pollution around a huge new petrochemical refinery in western Pennsylvania, Gov. Josh Shapiro’s administration said Wednesday. Announced.

Officials said Shell admitted that the plant, located on the Ohio River about 30 miles (48 km) outside Pittsburgh, violated air emissions regulations. The multi-billion dollar facility opened in November but closed months later after the company said it had found a problem with a system designed to burn unwanted gases.

Shell said it has completed repairs and plans to restart the plant on Wednesday.

Under an agreement with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Shell Chemicals Appalachia LLC, a subsidiary of British oil and gas giant Shell, will pay civil penalties of approximately $5 million, part of which will go to Beaver County. Allocated to environmental projects. State officials said the company plans to donate a total of $6.2 million to local communities.

The state of Pennsylvania “holds Shell accountable and takes steps to protect Pennsylvanians’ constitutional right to clean air and water while promoting innovation and economic development within the Commonwealth,” said Pennsylvania’s environment secretary. Deputy Rich Negrin said in a written statement.

The plant will use ethane from vast underground shale gas reservoirs in Pennsylvania and surrounding states to make polyethylene, a plastic used in everything from consumer and food packaging to tires. manufacturing. At full capacity, the plant is expected to produce 3.5 billion pounds (1.6 billion kilograms) of polyethylene per year. Shell expected to spend $6 billion building the refinery, but it took years to build.

Environmental advocates battled the nuclear plant, predicting that it would produce not only more plastic pollution, but also compounds that form smog and greenhouse gases that cause global warming. The Clean Air Council filed a lawsuit against Shell earlier this month.

Environmentalists likened the fines announced Wednesday to parking tickets, but they will have little impact on Shell’s bottom line.

“The overwhelming toxic pollution that residents have been exposed to has already had a negative impact on this community. There is no acceptable price tag for this,” said Andy Gray, who lives three miles from the Shell factory. said. A member of the Eyes on Shell monitoring group.

“There is ample evidence that Shell has no interest in protecting this community,” Gray said.

Shell said it seeks to minimize air pollution using the best available technology.

“We are committed to learning from past issues, protecting people and the environment, and being a responsible neighbor,” Shell spokesman Curtis Smith said Wednesday.

The plant exceeded rolling emissions limits for 12 months of volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and other harmful pollutants, according to state regulators. The state said Shell violated restrictions on visible emissions from flares, allowed odor emissions from its wastewater treatment facility, and committed other violations.

Shell has warned it will continue to exceed air emissions limits into the fall as its factories ramp up production. Additional civil penalties must be paid for future violations.

Shell CEO Wael Sawan said the problem was, as expected, a “technical issue.”

In a conference call with analysts earlier this month, Mr. Sawan said the plant’s ramp-up phase was “slower than we expected.” “But the team is doing a great job while battling the obvious technical issues common to startups.”

https://www.wkbn.com/news/pennsylvania/ap-shell-agrees-to-pay-10-million-for-air-pollution-at-massive-new-pennsylvania-petrochemical-plant/ Shell agrees to pay $10 million for air pollution at new large petrochemical plant in Pennsylvania – WKBN.com

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