Monitoring Pollution Around Shell

PurpleAir monitoring network from Pittsburgh to Shell. Image captured on Sept. 21, 2022.
  1. PurpleAir Monitors (as seen in the image above, focusing on particles and volatile organic compounds – neither at regulatory quality)
  2. Airviz Monitors (focusing on particles and volatile organic compounds – neither at regulatory quality)
  3. EPA/PA Department of Environmental Protection Monitors (map version, data table version)
  4. Shell’s own fence line monitoring page
  5. Eyes on Shell: You can participate in this team of community members educating themselves about pollution issues at Shell and documenting what they see/hear/smell.
  6. Nurdle Patrol: Documenting plastic nurdles near Shell.

Social Media Resources

  1. Sign up for the #NoPetroPA e-mail list here:
  2. Sign up for the #NoPetroPA Facebook Group for news and updates here:
  3. Sign up for the Shell Cracker Impact Facebook page here:

Key Contacts

  1. For inquiries about the NoPetroPA movement and/or website, contact Mark Dixon at (there is no dot-com in the address).
  2. For inquiries about bringing healthy economic development to Beaver County, contact

Information About Shell and Their Petrochemical Plastics Plant

  1. You can view real-time low-cost air monitors deployed by community members in the region around Shell here: PurpleAir & Airviz. Feel free to contact us if you have questions about how to interpret these monitors. It is helpful to examine multiple monitors before drawing conclusions. These monitors may have something wrong with them or be misleading in peculiar ways that we can help you sort out.
  2. Shell is making its own fenceline monitoring information available to the public via this website:
  3. 2022 Guide to the Petrochemical Expansion by Fractracker – very thorough and useful information:
  4. Excellent fact sheet by the Breathe Project — The Shell Ethane Cracker: What You Need to Know
  5. What you need to know about Shell’s Petrochemical Facility (“Ethane Cracker”) –
  6. Ethane Cracker Discussion in Regional Air Pollution Report –
  7. Health Impact Assessment (77 pages!) –
  8. FracTracker’s “A Formula for Disaster: Calculating Risk at the Ethane Cracker
  9. FracTracker’s primer on the Falcon Ethane Pipeline.
  10. is a great site tracking Shell’s unfortunate influence on the world.
  11. The DEP air quality permit for the Shell Petro Plant.
  12. FracTracker released new maps of the petrochemical buildout along the Ohio River.
  13. StateImpact Pennsylvania has this explainer page all about the Shell Ethane Cracker.

Various Groups Working on Shell Petro Plant and/or Tri-State Petro Issues

(This list does not imply any endorsement to/from the #NoPetroPA and the groups listed below)

  1. –
  2. Allegheny County Clean Air Now –
  3. Beaver County Marcellus Awareness Community (BCMAC) –
  4. Breathe Project –
  5. Center for Coalfield Justice –
  6. Citizens to Protect Ambridge Reservoir (CPAR) –
  7. Clean Air Council – 
  8. Clean Water Action –
  9. Communities First (Sewickley) –
  10. Earthworks –
  11. Environmental Integrity Project –
  12. Food & Water Watch –
  13. Fossil Free Pitt Coalition –
  14. FracTracker Alliance –
  15. Free the Planet (UPitt) –
  16. Interfaith Power & Light –
  17. Lancaster Against Pipelines –
  18. Marcellus Outreach Butler –
  19. Mountain Watershed Association –
  21. OVEC (Ohio River Valley Environmental Coalition, Inc.) –
  22. People Over Petro Coalition –
  23. Penn Environment –
  24. PennFuture –
  25. Pennsylvania Alliance for Clean Water and Air –
  26. Protect PT –
  27. Sierra Club –
  28. Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project –
  29. The Climate Reality Project –
  30. Three Rivers Waterkeeper –
  31. WeRisePGH –
  32. Women for a Healthy Environment –

FrackTracker has also released an informative map of many, many movements against fossil fuels via this online map/database:

Photo by Mark Dixon/Flickr via Creative Commons with Attribution License

Jobs vs. Environment = A False Choice

  • The Environmental Integrity Project released a report (pdf) examining the connection between jobs and the environment, with several findings relevant to the discussion around the viability and necessity of the Shell Petrochemical Plant:
    • According to information reported by employers to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 0.2% of “mass” layoffs – layoffs of 50 or more workers – are caused by government intervention or regulations (of any kind, not just environmental regulations).
    • For every job lost due to regulations, 15 are lost due to “cost cutting” and 30 are lost due to “organizational changes” (e.g., change in ownership).
    • Over the last decade, the benefits of environmental regulations have exceeded the costs they impose by a ratio of more than ten to one, according to the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.
    • All told, major regulations provide net economic benefits to the U.S. of over $500 billion per year.
    • In 2009, Economists at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst found that per dollar of spending, solar and wind energy projects create twice as many jobs as coal or natural gas, including more jobs in manufacturing and construction, and more “high-credentialed” jobs at an average hourly wage of $24.50.

Moving Beyond Traditional Plastic

  • Join #BreakFreeFromPlatic, a “Global Movement to Stop Plastic Pollution for Good” at . This international movement is growing fast and currently includes over 1,279 organizations.
  • The Guardian: Can Mushrooms Replace Plastic? “We’re able to compete with an entrenched billion-dollar plastic industry because we’re not extracting things,” Bayer said last week, at the fall conference of the Social Venture Network (SVN) in Baltimore. “We’re leveraging the power of biology.” It is also worth noting that the Pittsburgh region boasts virtually infinite old mines, which can be used to grow mushrooms. Indeed, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported back in 2008 (article here) that Creekside Mushrooms operates the largest underground mushroom growing facility about an hour northeast of of Pittsburgh in Worthington, PA. This PennState web page indicates that they use “150 miles of abandoned limestone tunnels encompassing 800 acres beneath the surface with production capability of 60 million pounds annually.”
  • The New Plastics Economy: Rethinking the Future of Plastics (A report from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation) “The circular economy is gaining growing attention as a potential way for our society to increase prosperity, while reducing demands on finite raw materials and minimising negative externalities. Such a transition requires a systemic approach, which entails moving beyond incremental improvements to the existing model as well as developing new collaboration mechanisms.” A stunning quote from the executive summary of the report indicates that the externalities (problems) associated with plastic cost more to society than the profits that companies make from their production. Note: “A staggering 32% of plastic packaging escapes collection systems, generating significant economic costs by reducing the productivity of vital natural systems such as the ocean and clogging urban infrastructure. The cost of such after-use externalities for plastic packaging, plus the cost associated with greenhouse gas emissions from its production, is conservatively estimated at USD 40 billion annually — exceeding the plastic packaging industry’s profit pool.”
  • “Designed in Europe over 15 years and now produced in China, Hemp Plastics compete with engineering compounds in properties such as stiffness and high heat tolerance (HDT).”
  • Plastics can put harmful chemicals into our food. According to the New York Times, the American Academy of Pediatrics released a report “urging families to limit the use of plastic food containers, cut down on processed meat during pregnancy and consume more whole fruits and vegetables rather than processed food. Such measures would lower children’s exposures to chemicals in food and food packaging that are tied to health problems such as obesity, the group says.” – NYTimes, July 23, 2018, “Chemicals in Food May Harm Children, Pediatricians’ Group Says


We’re always eager to receive recommendations of additional media references to add to this site. Please send suggestions via our comment form.

Photo by Mark Dixon/Flickr. Creative Commons with Attribution License. More related photos can be found here.