On November 15th, 2023, the largest plastic production facility in the Northeast United States marks one year of operations.
The Shell Plastics Plant is located in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, on the banks of the Ohio River, where the plant uses fracked ethane gas to create nurdles, the building blocks of single-use plastic.
Creating plastic is dangerous and creates a large amount of health-harming pollution but Shell has been particularly disastrous. In its first year of operations, Shell exceeded 4 air permits in Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, and hazardous air pollutants. These pollutants include things like benzene, a known cancer-causing agent. Over its first year of operations alone, Shell received 13 notices of violations, one almost $10 million fine, and had at least 22 malfunctions.