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Shell Falcon Pipeline charged for violating Pennsylvania environmental law

Shell Falcon Pipeline charged with violating Pennsylvania environmental law
Shell Falcon Pipeline charged with violating Pennsylvania environmental law 01:48

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Shell is facing charges for allegedly failing to report drilling issues that caused industrial waste while constructing a pipeline in western Pennsylvania, the state attorney general's office announced on Friday. 

The Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General's Environmental Crimes Section filed 13 misdemeanor charges against Shell Falcon Pipeline LP for violating the state's Clean Streams Law during the construction of a 45-mile pipeline in Washington, Allegheny and Beaver counties. 

The attorney general's office said its investigation revealed that Shell allegedly failed to tell the Department of Environmental Protection about several issues it encountered during some drills. 

Prosecutors say there were times when the drill lost drilling mud -- which often contains pollutants -- underground, and in some cases, the mud came to the surface in "unintended locations." The mud is industrial waste and results in pollution wherever it ultimately ends up, which is what the attorney general's office said happened in Shell's case. 

According to the charging documents, Shell contractors didn't report the failures to the DEP and the company didn't install real-time data logging devices on its drilling equipment, violating its permit. 

Shell's website says the Falcon Ethane Pipeline System is a 97-mile common carrier ethane pipeline across southwestern Pennsylvania, West Virginia and eastern Ohio that supplies the recently-built cracker plant in Monaca

Groups like the Beaver County Marcellus Awareness Community say this is just the latest of problems or hazards they've seen with this pipeline.

"We have a right to clean air, fresh water and the preservation of the land -- not just for ourselves but for future generations," said Bob Schmetzer with the group. 

Shell was charged with seven counts of unlawful conduct under the Clean Streams Law, three counts of prohibition against discharge of industrial wastes and three counts of prohibition against other pollutions.

Shell issued a statement saying it's reviewing the complaint and since the beginning of the project, it has cooperated with all agencies in affected communities to make sure the pipeline was constructed "in a safe and environmentally responsible manner." 

"SPLC will continue its cooperation with all relevant agencies. SPLC remains committed to protecting people and the environment, as well as being a responsible neighbor in the communities where we live and work," the statement said.

Pennsylvania AG charges Shell for spills during construction of multi-county pipeline 01:48
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