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Here’s the problem. 

The petrochemical industry’s workaround for not complying with pipeline safety standards and regulatory requirements is to transport volatile ethane gasses, and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) by rail as a substitute “mobile pipeline” through Pittsburgh’s most densely populated and Environmental Justice Area communities. If the oil and gas lobby is successful, this will occur throughout the rest of our country. 

CNX Resources Corp. CEO Nicholas J. DeIuliis  said that the most immediate concern was with policies that deterred methane (LNG) transportation infrastructure, which includes pipelines. The industry said that more pipelines need to be approved and built before production can meaningfully increase to meet demand domestically and internationally. Yet at the same time, challenges to the biggest pipeline projects being built right now, have been delayed for years. 

This issue relates directly to the world scale Shell Ethane Cracker plant scheduled to begin operation in Monaca, Beaver County this year.  Shell’s facility would make plastic from ethane, a component of Marcellus Shale natural gas.

The Shell facility would require the industry to open more than 1,000 new gas wells every 3 to 5 years to supply feedstock for plastic manufacturing. Studies have shown that gas wells located in close proximity to communities result in health risks to children and sensitive populations. (Environmental Health Project)

It is expected that fracked methane gas will be sent via “gathering” pipelines from fracking sites to cryogenic plants where ethane and other heavy natural gas liquids will be extracted. The “volatile liquid ethane” is then to be transported by the Falcon pipeline to the Shell plant where it will be processed into plastic.

The Falcon pipeline passes through densely populated neighborhoods, 25 landslide- prone areas, the watershed of the Ambridge Reservoir, habitats of several endangered and threatened species, within 1/4 mile of 240 private water wells. It will intersect 31 streams and 174 wetlands including the Independence Marsh. The potentially explosive Falcon Pipeline, which currently connects only three major ethane source points: Houston, Pa.; Scio, Ohio; and Cadiz, Ohio; went into operation October, 2021.

As a backup and alternative to the Falcon Pipeline, a massive rail yard has also been built adjacent to the Cracker plant to carry hazardous cargo and volatile gasses, including LNG. 

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is getting close to making its decision on Trump-era actions regarding moving Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) by rail.  As you know, RP3 and the Delaware WaterKeepers have been calling on the Biden administration and PHMSA to protect our communities by permanently banning LNG transport by rail that would include a ban on special permits.  PHMSA’s decision could come at any time, so we’re preparing to deliver our petition in the coming weeks.

Please help us send the strongest possible message by adding your name to our petition. Here’s the direct link:
Rail Pollution Protection Pittsburgh
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