Pipelines in Pennsylvania are under consistent attack by the same opponents that have been in search of any argument possible to voice opposition to much-needed infrastructure development in Pennsylvania.
The list of projects is long – PennEast, Atlantic Sunrise, Constitution, Adelphia, and Mariner East. What they can’t argue against is the incredible economic impacts that these projects will have for the commonwealth. Mariner East 2 was recently found to be providing a $9.1 billion positive benefit for the Pennsylvania economy while Atlantic Sunrise will have a $1.6 billion economic impact. In addition to these figures are the thousands of jobs these projects provide and the fact that pipelines ensure the safe delivery of energy products to consumers according to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.
Local papers are filled with opinion pieces and letters to the editor by people who claim they are in favor of safety, but that could not be further from the truth. In reality these infrastructure opponents are just ideological fringe activists opposed to development – nimbyism at its height. Opposition has attended meetings and formal hearings on the Mariner East project since it was proposed in 2014. They have had ample opportunity to share their opposition and back it up with facts. Opponents of this project have been heard and the project was legally permitted after unprecedented environmental review.
Unfortunately, these groups continue to use the courts in a last-ditch attempt to tie up the project. Just recently, the Commonwealth Court, yet again, ruled in favor of Mariner East in a lawsuit filed by environmental activists. The following day, similar advocates filed a new lawsuit in another attempt to bog down our courts. To date, the courts have been almost entirely consistent in upholding the letter of law by throwing out these frivolous lawsuits.
This project will provide support to the development of the Marcellus and Utica Shale by delivering product to consumers in the safest way possible, while increasing access to affordable, clean-burning natural gas products for local consumers. The activists have had their say. Now it is time to get the project done in order for Mariner East to deliver the countless positive benefits is promises for all Pennsylvanians.