MONACA, Pa. — Shell’s Beaver County Cracker Plant will be in “shutdown mode” for a few more weeks, according to the company.
The plant began operations in November 2022 but has already been cited numerous times by state regulators.
According to the company, the shutdown is to fix flaring and wastewater issues, which they were cited for.
“It’s been a disaster,” Dr. Clifford Lau told Channel 11. He’s a chemist and adjunct professor at Duquesne and CCAC. He’s also a member of the environmental group “Eyes on Shell.” He and his group are concerned about what’s happened in the plant’s first six months of operation.
“Yes, I am surprised. They’re a large company and they’ve got plants like these other places and this plant isn’t any different than those,” Lau said. “Hopefully, with this downtime, getting the plant maintenance done and everything, they will be a little more successful.”
It’s unclear how long maintenance will take. A Shell spokesperson shot down the notion that the plant could be idled for months or longer in an email to Channel 11.
“Not true. We are still in shutdown mode, but fully expect to be back in operation in the next few weeks, if not sooner,” the statement read.
During construction, the plant brought thousands of workers to Beaver County. It was a boon for business at places like Center Pizza, located about two miles away.
“We looked at a few places and settled on this and that was one of the things that was encouraging. Plus, all the hotels in the area,” co-owner Daniel McClune said.
Despite the slimmed-down workforce, going from thousands of temporary workers to hundreds of full-time employees, co-owners Daniel McClune and Andrew Moots tell Channe 11 the plant is good for business.
“The few that are remaining here, the few hundred that they’re keeping, it adds up. Every little bit adds up, especially with business,” Moots said.
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