A recent piece published in Philly Magazine contains several omissions with regard to pipelines in Pennsylvania, particularly the Mariner East 2 project. A few cases to point out:
There was an exhaustive permitting and review process.
Projects like Mariner East 2 undergo immense regulatory and public scrutiny. The Department of Environmental Protection spent more than 20,000 hours on project permits and responded to 29,000 comments after a series of statewide public hearings as part of a review process that stretched more than three years. That’s why, according to the department, the “permits are among the most stringent DEP has ever issued for this type of construction activity.” The Public Utility Commission has been an effective and a tireless watchdog, as its actions prove.
Local communities had ample opportunity to comment on the project.
Residents and officials at every level have had ample opportunities to review and comment on the Mariner East 2 project, and the volume of responses proves they did.
The backer of the project cares about emergency response planning.
The builder of the pipeline, Sunoco, annually offers awareness and emergency response training sessions with local responders, officials and excavators across its pipeline system. A supplemental training effort, the Mariner Emergency Responder Outreach (MERO) program, provided responders with additional guidance on hazardous materials and public safety sources. The MERO program has trained 2,350 individuals since 2013 across the pipeline’s entire footprint.
And, finally, pipelines remain the safest means of transporting petroleum products.
In November, Delaware County released the results of its own risk assessment study. Among other findings, the report concludes that living near Mariner East is significantly safer than other common activities. Specifically, it found that “a person is 20 times more likely to die from a traffic accident or fall from stairs and 35 times more likely to die from a house fire than from an incident involving the Mariner East 2 pipeline 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
That report confirmed what we have long known — that pipelines are the safest, most efficient means of transporting Pennsylvania’s energy resources. The fact is that if this pipeline is halted, this product will be getting to market via trucks and rail that pass through southeastern Pennsylvania communities.