Shell’s Falcon Ethane Pipeline System, designed to carry ethane to the Shell ethane “cracker” in Beaver County for plastic production, has been under investigation by federal and state agencies since 2019. Allegations in these investigations include issues with the pipeline’s coating, falsified reports, and retaliation against workers who spoke up about safety issues. These issues raise serious concerns about the safety of the Falcon Pipeline.

Public agencies have not responded to local concerns about what they are doing to hold Shell accountable and keep the public and workers safe. The People Over Petro Coalition, building off years of local resistance and organizing around this pipeline, is working to uncover more information and demand action. Email to get involved.

The 98-mile pipeline system passes through Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania, impacting major drinking water sources like the Ohio River, the Ambridge Reservoir, and the Tappan Lake Reservoir, which supply water to millions of residents. Spills and incidents are extremely common along pipelines. In total, Shell was responsible for 194 pipeline incidents from 2002 – 2016. These incidents spilled 59,290 barrels of petrochemical products totaling some $183-million in damages. 

Aside from threatening to pollute fresh water resources, the Falcon Pipeline puts residents in potentially grave danger. Based on 2010 Census data, FracTracker Alliance estimates that 2,499 people live within the Falcon’s “blast zone,” which represents the distance in which a person standing outdoors in the vicinity of a pipeline rupture and fire would have only a 99% chance of survival; or in which death, injury, or significant property damage could occur. When expanded to the total High Consequence Area—a wider radius that reflects the potential for ethane vapors to flow long distances before igniting—this total increases to 8,738 people, in addition to 5 schools, 6 daycare centers, and 16 emergency response centers.

Following a May 2021 public meeting hosted by the People Over Petro Coalition, a petition with over 2,000 signatures was delivered to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) demanding the federal agency host its own public meeting to address serious health and safety concerns. Thus far, PHMSA has refused to host such a meeting.

What’s next? 

Shell has stated that the Falcon Pipeline is set to begin operations in August 2021. However, many residents oppose the pipeline’s operation unless they receive more transparent answers around questions of safety. 

If you have questions, concerns, or want to get involved in the campaign to prioritize people over pipelines, reach out to us at or

And make sure to follow us on social media for updates via the icons on the side or bottom of this page. 

Resources to learn more and take action:

Featured photo credit: “The Falcon Pipeline route at its Ohio River Crossing Feature (A.Lauschke/LightHawk)”