Pipeline Opponents’ Desperation Painfully Obvious

Jim Willis, editor and publisher of Marcellus Drilling News, weighed in on the latest complaints filed by 7 pipeline opponents from Chester and Delaware counties. Specifically, Willis calls the effort to halt Mariner East 1 and 2 a ‘Hail Mary’ attempt, insisting the continued “…chutzpah of these people is breathtaking.” He is right. Pipeline opponents have tried every tactic and trick to stop an infrastructure project critical to Pennsylvania’s natural gas industry.

The PA PUC complaints have revealed interesting details about the forces and special interests at play to stop the Mariner East pipeline system.

Michael Bomstein, a local attorney with ties to the Clean Air Council (a longtime pipeline opposition group), is representing the petitioners in their complaints. Bomstein’s son, Alex, is the senior litigator with the Clean Air Council. The two have worked together to file lawsuits against Mariner East in the past and Michael Bomstein has even been recorded discussing the lawsuits against the pipeline.

The petitioners are claiming that because a supplemental line is temporarily being used to bring Mariner East 2 online until construction is completed Sunoco is not in compliance with legal guidelines and their ‘public awareness program’ must be reviewed by the PA PUC.

The PA PUC has already accepted the plan.

Additionally, the supplemental line under question has passed two hydrostatic tests – one in 2017 and another in 2018. The line has been approved for use as Paul Metro, manager of the safety division of the PUC, confirmed “No leaks were discovered in either test. If a pipeline successfully passes a hydrostatic test, it can be assumed that no hazardous defects are present in the tested pipe.”

Pipeline opponents are throwing themselves at any loophole or legal nuance where they can make claims to halt the Mariner East pipeline system without acknowledging well documented facts from state and federal regulators.