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Shell’s Magnificent Record: Thousands of Violations, Peanuts in Fines, and Another Exhilarating Fire at Deer Park Chemical Plant

Posted 16 June 2023 by John Donovan

Oh, how thrilling it must be to witness the enchanting billowing toxic smoke courtesy of Shell’s Deer Park chemical plant! Residents in Houston were overjoyed when their air quality was already terrible on May 5.

Carolyn Stone, a lucky Channelview resident, even had the pleasure of experiencing a splitting headache due to the delightful poisonous atmosphere.

But wait, the excitement didn’t end there! A fire suddenly erupted at Shell’s plant.

Stone received a call from a friend who couldn’t contain their enthusiasm, urging her to look outside. Oh, the joy!

Within minutes, a majestic column of black smoke emerged, dancing gracefully over the tree line, making its way toward Stone. What a spectacle!

Meanwhile, Deer Park resident Joe Robles IV was eagerly driving home from work near the Shell facility when he received thrilling texts from friends and family. How fortunate! His first instinct was to secure his son’s front-row seat to the spectacle and whisk him away to a safer location.

Of course, this fire was just one of the many delightful chemical fires to grace Houston this year. An analysis conducted by the killjoy lawyers at Arnold & Itkin revealed that the city had been blessed with six such fires. But hold your applause, folks. These dull residents, lawyers, and environmental groups had the audacity to suggest that the ageing facilities and state regulators who are too busy counting their paychecks are to blame for these exhilarating incidents. How dare they spoil the fun?

In the midst of this breathtaking blaze, 15 lucky contract workers were even treated to an all-expenses-paid trip to the hospital for some unexpected injuries. Shell, being the epitome of compassion, has yet to disclose the amount of pollution emitted by this fire.

Oh, but don’t worry, dear readers! Safety is Shell’s number one priority. Just ask their spokesperson Natalie Gunnell, who graciously reassured Houston Public Media that their employees and contractors are bestowed with the incredible authority and responsibility to halt work if they deem it unsafe. How comforting to know that Shell is so committed to maintaining their workers’ well-being while providing the citizens of Houston with an unforgettable pyrotechnic spectacle!

But wait, there’s more! The Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and lawyers representing the injured workers are also investigating this remarkable fire.

According to the Environmental Integrity Project, Shell has amassed a whopping 2,000 violations from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) over the past decade. These violations ranged from trivial matters like failing to operate equipment correctly to the minor issue of excessive pollution. Ah, the joys of pushing boundaries!

But fear not, for Shell has paid a princely sum of $700,000 for all their delightful violations. Such a magnificent display of wealth redistribution! Who needs pocket change when you can finesse your way through the system?

The TCEQ, ever the champion of compliance, proudly announced its robust enforcement program. They tirelessly pursue non-compliant regulated industries with their vigorous regulatory framework, which is as clear as mud. Bravo.

Residents, lawyers, and environmental groups have been tirelessly criticizing Shell, pointing fingers at the company’s ageing facilities and the supposed reluctance of state regulators. How dare they question the integrity of such a renowned and environmentally conscious oil giant?

Shell’s impeccable track record includes nearly 2,000 violations from the state environmental agency in the past decade. But hey, who’s counting? These violations range from equipment malfunctions to excessive pollution. Minor details, really. In addition to state violations, Shell’s Deer Park facility has also received fines from OSHA and the EPA. It’s nice to see federal agencies joining in on the fun. Shell’s commitment to breaking the rules knows no bounds!

As the fire burned throughout the night, Joe Robles of Deer Park described it as a unique symphony of sound. Who needs a good night’s sleep when you can have the constant reminder of Shell’s operations? Truly a gift for the community!

Perhaps if everyone had a visual reminder of the “harmless” fires, they would appreciate Shell’s contribution even more. After all, longevity is overrated when it comes to human life.

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