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Demonstrators converged at the Beaver County courthouse on August 13 to coincide with President Trump's visit to the Shell cracker plant on the Ohio River.

Royal Dutch Shell’s multibillion-dollar ethane cracker plant was Trump's backdrop to champion "new jobs" and the fossil-fuel industry. And Shell was "very exited" to have Trump do it, a representative telling local broadcaster KDKA that the visit was a chance "to showcase all the good work" that Shell is doing.

 

Although, the cracker plant will produce 2.2 million tons of carbon dioxide per year, Trump's EPA Administrator, Andrew Wheeler, told local WTAE that it would be okay.  When asked about Shell's production of new plastic (the very purpose of a cracker plant) in light of world-wide concerns about plastic pollution, Wheeler bypassed the point, responding that US-manufactured plastic would leave less carbon because it didn't have to be shipped from overseas. He didn't discuss the carbon footprint of plastic exports.

For their part, environmental activists and community leaders in the Ohio Valley region are uneasy not only about the impact that the Shell plant will have on the local community, but also by efforts to bring similar projects into the larger area. Such concerns go beyond Trump's embrace of the fossil-fuel industry. Trump is driving to deregulate such industries. His EPA will only measure each plant's emissions (which are approved at notably higher levels than in the past) instead of measuring the cumulative pollution in the zone. Choosing to grow a wider petrochemical industry in the Ohio Valley is a nightmare health scenario.

 

For the latest information about the impact of the Shell plant, see "Letter to a President", "New Chart Shows Shell Cracker Impact on Health at Various Beaver County Locations" and "The Fracking Endgame" all of which are available in the stories below.

The Beaver County demonstration addressed many concerns beyond environmental issues. Its sponsors included Move On, Democratic Volunteers of Beaver County, Southwest PA NOW, Womens March on Washington Pittsburgh, Indivisible Pittsburgh, Partners for Progress Southwest PA, People Over Petro Coalition, 12th CD Chapter of Progressive Democrats of America, Cease Fire PA, Progress PA, Beaver County Voice for Change, Beaver County Marcellus Awareness Community, Beaver County Peace Links, Breathe Project, Beaver County Democrat Committee, and Beaver County Young Democrats.

New Chart Shows Shell Cracker Impact on

Health at Various Beaver County Locations

The shaded box on the left side of the graphic displays the detrimental effects of exposure at various levels. The other box highlights some exposure levels that will be experienced around Beaver County.

Want to learn more? There are two new items posted by the SWP Environmental Health Project:

"Health Risks of Living in Close Proximity to Oil and Gas Development" by Anne C. Epstein, MD shows impacts around the country--including Beaver County.

"Hydraulic Fracturing: Experiences with Clinical Evaluations" by Michael Gary Abesami, MD is a more technical look a the links between fracking chemicals and chronic illnesses.

Links to papers

Download the

New Report from Food & Water Watch

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Pittsburgh region's air quality gets an "F" grade

by Dan Hopey, 4/24/2019

The Municipal Ordinance Project

Fighting Fracking at the Local Level

Info from Food and Water Watch

UN Report

Climate Warming: The World Must Act Now

Pipeline Explosion Rocks Center Township

Early morning ball of fire prompts evacuations, warnings

And click on

Falcon Pipeline

at top of page

Op-Ed: Beaver County Pipeline Explosion

How to Prevent Future Catastrophes

By Jacquelyn Bonomo 

Residents of Center Township, Beaver County, narrowly avoided a catastrophe on Sept. 10. A newly constructed natural gas pipeline ruptured, causing a terrifying explosion and fire that destroyed a house and several garages and vehicles.

Although it’s a great relief that no one was injured, we must still consider what we can do to prevent a similar occurrence, or worse, in the future.

It’s easy to chalk the explosion up as an accident. The ruptured pipeline was caused by a landslide, an unintentional, chance occurrence. We can’t prepare for that. Not true. If office towers can be built in cities prone to earthquakes, pipeline operators can prepare for landslides and minimize their impact.

In this instance, the pipeline owner, Energy Transfer Corporation, had installed the proper erosion and sedimentation controls, but they were not working at the time. That’s what Jim Shaner, executive director of the Beaver County Conservation District, the agency responsible for inspecting ETC’s pipeline construction procedures, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. So, lax safety practices by ETC, which also owns the problem-plagued Mariner East 2 pipeline, offset the safeguards in place, assuming those “safeguards” are enough.

But isn’t a landslide an act of God? Not much we can do to prevent that. Again, not true. The landslide was caused by intense rains during the previous four days. Experts are attributing the heavy rains and flooding we’ve been experiencing this summer to climate change — an act of man. Furthermore, climate science is signaling a much wetter future for our region, so land saturation and flooding from more frequent and more intense rainfall is coming.

No, this near-disaster cannot be dismissed as an accident or an act of God. The real culprit here is bad public policy and misguided economic development investments. For decades, policymakers of both parties have refused to allocate enough funding to the state agencies responsible for permitting and monitoring pipeline construction, and protecting our health and the environment. Furthermore, investing in gas, and not renewable and clean energy, is shortsighted, reckless and, as the Center Township explosion demonstrates, dangerous.

But isn’t a landslide an act of God? Not much we can do to prevent that. Again, not true. The landslide was caused by intense rains during the previous four days. Experts are attributing the heavy rains and flooding we’ve been experiencing this summer to climate change — an act of man. Furthermore, climate science is signaling a much wetter future for our region, so land saturation and flooding from more frequent and more intense rainfall is coming.

No, this near-disaster cannot be dismissed as an accident or an act of God. The real culprit here is bad public policy and misguided economic development investments. For decades, policymakers of both parties have refused to allocate enough funding to the state agencies responsible for permitting and monitoring pipeline construction, and protecting our health and the environment. Furthermore, investing in gas, and not renewable and clean energy, is shortsighted, reckless and, as the Center Township explosion demonstrates, dangerous.

By failing to take the necessary steps to address climate change, legislators put our communities and climate at risk. Pursuing policies and investments that reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and begin to level the playing field between gas and renewables, such as wind and solar, would unequivocally prevent calamities like the one in Center Township.

The leading environmental organizations in Pennsylvania are fighting to improve current policies. The Pennsylvania Common Conservation Agenda, an action plan developed by a statewide coalition of more than 25 conservation and environmental groups, contains a number of practical policy solutions for bipartisan bolstering of the state’s clean-energy sector, adequately funding the state agencies responsible for protecting the environment and natural resources, achieving environmental justice for the most-vulnerable communities, improving the quality of drinking water and more.

Achieving the policy changes called for here is going to require a groundswell of support from Pennsylvanians. With a pivotal election taking place Nov. 6, we need to take our demands for more enlightened, proactive environmental policies directly to the candidates running for governor and the Legislature. All of us must do our part.

Visit www.greenin18.org to find out what you can do now to fight for a healthier environment in Pennsylvania.

-Jacquelyn Bonomo is president and CEO of PennFuture, a statewide environmental advocacy organization.

Video

Shale Gas: The Technological Gamble

That Should Not Have Been Taken

by Anthony Ingraffea

Beaver County Marcellus Awareness Community (BCMAC) is a 501(c)(3) organization. The organization seeks to inform the citizens of Western Pennsylvania, specifically those in Beaver County, about Marcellus Shale unconventional gas drilling, and to protect our natural environment by promoting and supporting sustainable energy alternatives to carbon-based energy sources.

BCMAC – Beaver County Marcellus Awareness Community

501(c)(3) Organization

Beaver County, PA

BCMAC.awareness@gmail.com