Is the PA Department of Environmental Protection getting a little more pushy with Shell? This is the seventh notice of violation since April, 2019. How many violations will Shell accumulate over the next 50 years, particularly once the toxic chemicals really start cracking their way towards plastic nurdles? What do you think? Please share your insights in the comments below.

FYI: The Falcon pipeline is being built to bring large amounts of ethane to the Shell Ethane Cracker petrochemical facility currently under construction in Beaver County, upwind of Pittsburgh. You can learn all about the pipeline via FracTracker’s special report here. A few key Falcon facts from FracTracker include:

  • There are 97.5 miles of pipeline proposed to be built through 22 townships in 3 states
  • Falcon will intersect 319 streams and 174 wetlands, with hundreds more proximate to work areas.
  • 550 family residences, 20 businesses, 240 groundwater wells, 12 public parks, 5 schools, 6 daycare centers, and 16 emergency response centers are within potential risk areas.

And now for the actual violation information…


The PA DEP issued a notice of violation to Shell Pipeline Company, LP on November 7, 2019, in which it found that Shell was “not utilizing the required monitoring instrumentation” related to horizontal directional drilling “HDD.” The original link to the full violation text can be found here: https://www.dep.pa.gov/Business/ProgramIntegration/Pennsylvania-Pipeline-Portal/Pages/Shell.aspx . The actual violation letter can be found here as a PDF.

The violation notice goes on to recommend that Shell “immediately cease all Pennsylvania HDD [horizontal directional drill] operations until the Department provides written approval to resume HDD operations:

The original violation notice opens with the following:

The notice also includes a couple of additional problems that the DEP felt worth noting:

A quick review of the other violations here reveals a host of problems with the Falcon pipeline project, including “unauthorized discharge of industrial waste into waters of the Commonwealth” because “approximately 800 gallons of drilling fluid was released and impacted the Wetland.” An additional ~500 drilling fluids were released on another occasion, with 30 gallons impacting another wetland Raccoon Creek (Beaver County). This is just skimmed from two of seven total Falcon pipeline violations. All within a span of 8 months.

One thought on “DEP Recommends Shell Temporarily Cease Falcon Pipeline Horizontal Drilling

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