Shell Plastic Facility An “Essential” Business

by | Jan 14, 2021

Shell applied for a waiver from state coronavirus shutdowns in order to bring 500 workers back to the construction site for its ethane cracker plastic plant in southwestern Pennsylvania’s Beaver County, reported West Virginia State Impact. The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development told the company that as a natural gas facility, it was automatically exempt — even though that “essential” designation is intended for gas-fired power plants. Once in operation, the operation will have the capacity to produce more than a million tons of plastic pellets annually. Status: Effective April 15, 2020.

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Amy Westervelt is the editor-in-chief of Drilled News, creator and host of the Drilled podcast, and founder of the Critical Frequency podcast network, named AdWeek's Podcast Network of the Year in 2019. An award-winning print and audio journalist, Amy has contributed to The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post, as well as KQED, The California Report, Capital Public Radio, and many other outlets. She is the 2015 winner of the Rachel Carson award for "women greening journalism," and a 2016 winner of an Edward R. Murrow award for her series on the impacts of the Tesla Gigafactory in Nevada. In 2019, the Drilled podcast won the Online News Association's "Excellence in Audio Storytelling" award.

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Emily J. Gertz is senior editor of Drilled News. A longtime environmental reporter and editor, her work has appeared in HuffPost, Reveal, Arctic Today, The Guardian, Popular Science, Scientific American, Sierra, and more.