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Shell's Beaver County cracker plant to resume operations after agreeing to pay $10M for violations

Environmental groups file lawsuit against Shell over Beaver County cracker plant
Environmental groups file lawsuit against Shell over Beaver County cracker plant 02:56

POTTER TOWNSHIP, Pa. (KDKA) -- Shell will resume operations at its Beaver County cracker plant after agreeing to pay the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and community nearly $10 million for violations.

The Shapiro administration and DEP entered a consent order and agreement where Shell acknowledged the company exceeded total emission limitations for air contaminants, agreed to make repairs to reduce future exceedances and agreed to pay $10 million. 

The governor's office said Shell will pay a civil penalty of nearly $5 million, 25% of which will be directed to local communities, and another $5 million will go to environmental projects. In total, communities around the plant in Potter and Center townships will get $6.2 million, the Shapiro administration said. 

Eyes on Shell shared pictures showing bright lights when the Shell cracker plant in Monaca activated its ground flare on March 14, 2023.  (Photo: Eyes On Shell)

Shell will also have to pay additional monthly civil penalties for the rest of the year for any further exceedances. 

During various time periods after opening last year, the governor's office said Shell exceeded its rolling 12-month total emission limitations for volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and hazardous air pollutants. The Shapiro administration said Shell attributed some of the emissions to malfunctions and said it plans on additional exceedances of its emission limitations during the commissioning phase into fall, but not normal operations. 

The DEP also cited Shell for flaring violations, malodor violations at its wastewater treatment plant and other violations. 

Shell paused operations about a month ago to address malfunctions. After the consent order and agreement, the governor's office said Shell plans on restarting operations at the plant on Wednesday.

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