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Shell’s Generosity: A Mere $5M for Environmental Oopsies in Beaver County

Posted by John Donovan 6 Jan 24

In an act of what can only be described as unparalleled magnanimity, Beaver County, PA, finds itself on the receiving end of a $5 million environmental consolation prize. Where did this windfall come from, you ask? None other than Shell, courtesy of a settlement over some minor oopsies at its Monaca Cracker Plant.

This grand fund, touted as one of the biggest in state history by the Department of Environmental Protection, is not what you might think. “This is not a charity project. This is not a feel-good fund,” declares Daniel Rossi-Keen, a board member deciding the fate of this windfall. He further adds, “We would rather have good health from the get-go and not deal with these underlying consequences.” Well, who wouldn’t?

Applications are now open for spending this bounty, with the board seeking projects that can somehow undo a year’s worth of Shell’s environmental generosity. “It’s called a mitigation fund,” Rossi-Keen says, which is a fancy way of saying ‘damage control.’

Of course, there are strings attached. Certain criteria must be met to dip your hands into this pot of gold. And, to keep up appearances, a series of community meetings will be held.

Shell, ever the paragon of responsibility, shared their heartfelt statement with Channel 11: “Shell is committed to complying with all county, state and federal regulations.” They continue, “We have worked in conjunction with the PaDEP to fix plant issues that led to prior violations.” Translation: “Oops, we did it, but we promise to be better!”

Shell humbly adds, “We’ve learned from previous issues and pledge to be the safe environmental steward, good neighbor, and business partner this region wants and deserves.” Because, as we all know, nothing says good neighbor like a few environmental violations.

The statement goes on to explain the flaring during startup, attributing it to “the complexities of commissioning a brand-new system and equipment.” But worry not, “no violation is acceptable,” they assure us.

In a final stroke of humility, Shell clarifies, “By design, Shell has no determination whatsoever as to how the $5 million dollar community fund will be allocated.” However, they’re quick to mention their voluntary Social Investment funds, pouring millions into the community for the environment, workforce development, and the underserved. “It is an honor and a privilege to be in the position to help our neighbours and the environment with these funds,” they proclaim, basking in the glow of their own benevolence.

So, as Beaver County embarks on this journey of environmental healing, financed by Shell’s deep pockets (from just one of their couch cushions), we can all sleep a little better knowing that when big oil spills, at least they pay for the paper towels.

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