Enviro Groups Appeal Air Permit for Shell’s Ethane Cracker

  • Shell Corporation has proposed building an ethane cracker facility near Pittsburgh. An ethane cracker produces the building blocks of plastics. Photo: Shell via Flickr

August 7, 2015
by Reid Frazier

Environmental groups are appealing the air quality permit state regulators gave Shell for its proposed ethane cracker petrochemical plant in Beaver County.

The appeal is before the state’s Environmental Hearing Board. A hearing date has not been set.

The groups are arguing the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) should have required more stringent monitoring requirements for fugitive air emissions from Shell for its proposed facility. The plant would take natural gas from the Marcellus and Utica shales and convert it into the building blocks of plastics.

In June, the DEP approved Shell’s air quality permit, which is required because the Pittsburgh region fails to meet federal air quality standards. The agency said in a report on air quality that Shell’s plant indicate it wouldn’t violate any of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards.

“Both Shell and DEP missed an opportunity to ensure residents are adequately protected from this large source of pollution,” said Joe Minott, executive director of Clean Air Council, one of the groups appealing the permit.

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