Environmental groups concerned after Shell Cracker Plant ‘flare’

Environmental groups are sounding the alarm after an issue at the Shell Cracker Plant caused it to flare.

Chopper 11 flew over the bright orange flare at the plant in Monaca, Beaver County, on Monday afternoon.

“So, they were flaring from 3:30 until about 7:20 yesterday — that whole time, there was black smoke coming off that flare,” said Anaïs Peterson, a petrochemical campaigner for Earthworks as well as a volunteer with the watchdog environmental groups Beaver County Marcellus Awareness Community and Eyes on Shell. “So with flaring...generally, this means they’re burning off some sort of hydrocarbon at the facility.”

Peterson said black smoke is a cause for concern and she is critical of Shell waiting to notify Beaver County residents about the issue that caused the unplanned flare.

“The primary purpose of the flares is to enable a safe response to equipment malfunctions and the system is working as designed,” Shell posted, in part, on Facebook.

Peterson said people are already on edge after the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, that released toxic chemicals.

Shell said all the appropriate regulatory agencies have been notified.

Eyes on Shell is now offering free air monitors to people who reach out to them.