Good Neighbor Campaigns

Preparing for Chemical Valley: Life between two Shell plants

Homes on Norco Street in Norco, La., that sit a few hundred feet from the fence line of Norco Manufacturing Complex photographed on February 1, 2017. (Credit: Andrew Rush/Post-Gazette)

NORCO, LA — “It was around 4 a.m., a few days before Barbara and Randy Dixon were supposed to move into their new home on Goodhope Street in Norco, La., when an explosion knocked out every window in the house, spreading broken glass like a carpet over the porch. Ceiling fans fell to the floor when the home was lifted up and dropped back down onto its posts, cracking two studs, in a scene repeated throughout the neighborhood.

Ms. Dixon’s father, who lived a few blocks away, was hurled out of bed. Shaken awake by the fall, he quickly gathered himself, told his wife to get dressed and headed for the car, always kept fueled for just this type of occasion. The family trained for situations like this because like Ms. Dixon, her father grew up a few blocks away from a petrochemical plant and refinery run by Royal Dutch Shell.

This was the worst-case scenario, the catastrophic event that some residents of Beaver County in Pennsylvania have begun to equate with any mention of the $6 billion ethane cracker and petrochemical complex that Shell is building in Potter Township.”

— Anya Litvak, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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