$5M from Shell to fund air quality monitoring in Beaver County

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PITTSBURGH — Some of Shell’s $5 million payment for air quality violations in Beaver County must be used for regular, independent air quality testing around the company’s cracker plant in Potter Township.

That edict was part of a protocol finalized by the Environmental Mitigation Community Fund steering committee for how to spend the money secured as part of a settlement with Shell Chemical Appalachia for air quality violations during the commissioning of the company’s cracker plant. The $5 million fund is one of the largest funds of its kind in Pennsylvania’s history, according to the DEP.

The protocol establishes the basic outline of how the Environmental Mitigation Community Fund will be distributed and what entities are eligible to apply for funding. Projects that provide environmental, health or quality of life benefits in Beaver County may be eligible for funding.

The protocol includes that at least one funded project should provide for regular, independent, testing of the air quality in the vicinity of the facility; and at least one funded project should focus on meaningful community education and engagement that fosters civic participation to design strategies seeking to improve the health and/or quality of life of the communities near to the facility.

The steering committee will now craft a protocol implementation plan to further detail the process for how project proposals should be submitted, evaluated and selected. This plan will also establish the financial entity that will serve as the trustee and the process to distribute the funds. A separate, yet-to-be-formed, advisory board will be selected to receive, evaluate and approve projects.

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