With the construction of Shell's ethane cracker plant in Beaver County fully underway, PublicSource spoke to a Shell representative along with seven other people who have different perspectives on the future of our region’s environment and industry.
It was raining nonstop, but that didn’t seem to have any effect on Sarah Baxendell’s enthusiasm as she showed visitors the future site of the Hilltop Urban Farm in Pittsburgh’s St. Clair neighborhood.
The 23-acre farm will grow food to sell, but its creators at the Hilltop Alliance are also planning to teach youth about agriculture and create a new generation of urban farmers. The farm will spin off into a stand-alone organization, and its staff hopes to transform what is now a food desert into an area “abundant with access to healthy food,” according to the farm’s website.
Neighborhood groups near the city's most deadly recent flooding disaster want to bring the old stream back to life so that when torrential rain comes, the water will instead flow into the Allegheny River. The resurrected stream would stop sewers from backing up and give water from the hills surrounding the road a natural place to go. But it would be the biggest and most expensive project of its type the city had ever undertaken.
Climate change is poised to create unprecedented transformations in precipitation, stream flows and temperature, likely to test the resilience of the system of 16 dams and reservoirs operated by the Pittsburgh district of the corps, which includes the Loyalhanna Dam.
More than 100 concerned residents of Beaver County attended a community meeting hosted by Royal Dutch Shell in the town of Beaver Tuesday night, hoping to get their questions answered about the potential environmental impact of the $6 billion cracker plant being built in their community. But some left with the feeling that their queries were unanswered. The meeting, the third planned by Shell, was held in the College Square Elementary School and opened with an hourlong presentation by company employees. Beaver residents Debbie and Rick Pentz attended the meeting with their granddaughter Alayna, hoping for answers, but found the meeting to be less informative than anticipated. Debbie Pentz had come prepared with a list of questions, including some inspired by PublicSource’s recent reporting on fenceline monitoring of pollutants entering the community.