"Officials around [Pennsylvania] are optimistic about the impact of Shell’s new ethane cracker on the local economy. It will bring thousands of construction jobs to western Pennsylvania and 600 permanent ones once it’s built along the Ohio River in Beaver County. The plant will produce 1.6 million tons of plastic a year out of the region’s natural gas.
But Jim Fabisiak, an environmental and occupational health professor at the University of Pittsburgh, is concerned about another impact on the area—how the facility could affect air quality.
At his office, Fabisiak pulls out a sheet of paper with a simple line graph on it. It shows the amount of industrial pollution in Beaver County for volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. These are a broad class of chemicals that help form ground-level ozone, or smog, which can exacerbate asthma and other lung problems."